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February 19, 2010

Rowling’s being sued for plagiarism again
Posted by Teresa at 10:22 PM * 652 comments

In the news today:

J. K. Rowling dismisses plagiarism claim

‘Harry Potter’ author J.K. Rowling, who has been dragged into a 500 million pound legal battle over claims of plagiarism, has dismissed the allegations calling them “absurd” and “unfounded”.

“Absurd” and “unfounded” looks right to me.
The multi-millionaire author has been named in the lawsuit originally filed last year against publisher Bloomsbury for alleged copyright infringement, Daily Mail online reported.
This is going to be another case like Nancy Stouffer’s ignominiously unsuccessful attempt to sue on account of some purely nominal similarities between the Harry Potter series and an obscure children’s book Rowling never saw.

What these lawsuits teach us:

1. The plaintiffs haven’t paid much attention to other works in the genre.

2. Non-writers think it’s the ideas, rather than the execution, that make a book. They’ve got that backward.

3. People who aren’t accustomed to having a lot of ideas of their own have a very poor grasp of the odds that others might independently come up with the same ideas.

The estate of writer Adrian Jacobs maintains Rowling stole ideas from one of his books The Adventures of Willy the Wizard for her work, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. But Rowling has issued a statement dismissing the claim as “absurd,” and is applying to have the case thrown out.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is the fourth book in a consistent and tightly sequential series of seven books. It would be bizarre to assume that J. K. Rowling committed plagiarism in the fourth book but not in the three books before or the three after it.

What’s really happening here is that Adrian Jacobs’ book imagines that a society that’s full of wizards would still have railroads, newspapers, schools, students, hospitals, government bureaus, candy, contests, sporting events, prisons, maps, and beer, only they’d all be the wizardly versions of those things.

Surprise, surprise: J. K. Rowling’s books do that too—as do thousands of other works of genre fiction. It’s basic worldbuilding. (This is the part where the plaintiffs not paying enough attention to other books comes in.) The reason the plaintiffs are suing over Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is that it’s built around a magical competition, so its insignificant resemblance to Willy the Wizard is infinitesimally greater than that of the other books in the series.

“I am saddened that yet another claim has been made that I have taken material from another source to write Harry. The fact is I had never heard of the author or the book before the first accusation by those connected to the author’s estate in 2004,” Rowling said.
I’m inclined to believe her. One of the many reasons for this is that it looks to me like Willy the Wizard may have been self-published. The following account of the book’s history is from the website Adrian Jacobs’ heirs have put up, on the page titled Background to Publication in 1987 of The Adventures of Willy the Wizard by Adrian Jacobs with illustrations by Nick Tidnam ©1987:
Adrian Jacobs’ work “The Adventures of Willy The Wizard” was well received when it was sent around in manuscript form by his literary agent to potential publishers in 1987.
No. While the publishers may have found kind things to say about it, they rejected it.
Publishers were enthusiastic about his ideas, including …

(List of ideas, carefully selected and phrased to maximize the resemblance to Rowling’s work.)

Why did the publishers comment on his ideas? Most likely because it spared them having to say anything about Adrian Jacobs’ prose, storytelling, pacing, and ear for language.

Sorry. It’s far from being the worst book I’ve ever seen, but it’s not up to snuff.

However his literary agent advised him that the work needed some re-writing and was densely packed with themes and ideas that needed expansion and development.
True, as far as it goes, though it’s awfully generic advice. I’d like to know who this agent was who thought the manuscript needed serious work, but sent it round to publishers anyway. Maybe they were a real agent. If not, Adrian Jacobs will have been paying them. Note: placing Jacobs’ book with a vanity press (if it was a vanity press) is not the sort of thing real agents do.

And since we’re comparing Adrian Jacobs and J. K. Rowling: when Rowling first submitted her work to agents and publishers, she got turned down too. The difference is that instead of self-publishing it, she buckled down and worked on her writing. A few years later, her first book sold to Bloomsbury.

Adrian Jacobs was impatient to publish and not wishing to re-write, Adrian commissioned an illustrator- Nick Tidnam RBA and retained him to illustrate the manuscript. Cecil Turner of Bachman Turner published the book in October 1987.
That’s not as in Bachman Turner Overdrive. Cecil Turner and his wife Marta Bachman ran Bachman & Turner in the 1970s and 1980s. Neither of them appear to have had any background in publishing before starting the company. If you read between the lines of this perhaps over-laudatory obituary of Cecil Turner (it’s written by one of the authors he published), it looks like Turner wasn’t wealthy before marrying Marta Bachman and starting a publishing company, but adopted a patrician lifestyle thereafter. That would be unusual for a couple running a legitimate small press, especially given the not overwhelmingly commercial books Bachman & Turner published. I don’t know. Maybe Marta Bachman had money.
Some 5000 copies were printed. Adrian sent a large number of copies of the highly colourful finished book to his literary agent. Adrian Jacobs visited several schools and read extracts from AWTW. The book was reviewed in papers including the Daily Express.
I’m not seeing any mention of book sales or bookstore distribution.

The only publishing detail the relatives seem to know is exactly how many copies were printed. Most or all of the copies wound up in the hands of the author. He sent many of them to his agent, which is an odd thing to do if you already have a legitimate publisher. Maybe I’m wrong, but to me this sounds like vanity publishing.

I can tell you one thing that definitely didn’t happen: the book didn’t get edited, copy edited, or proofread, which is sad considering that it’s only 36 pages long. Check out the prose. (If you’re feeling brave, here’s the complete list of excerpts.) The punctuation is full of errors, and never rises above “haphazard.” Obvious words are left out, and essential connections and descriptions are missing. Some passages make no sense at all. The text contains errors no editor would let stand, like “bathroom-come-study,” “carpenterised” for “remodeled” or “subdivided,” and “fawcett” for “faucet.” Some interesting passages:

Willy sat in Ali Baba’s chair and was frequenctized into vision acute, now receiving clarity waves from the Ruby Tower.
—-
Kentucky set the scene for the polo feast. A green green carpet appeared like a field in the sky, and the audience was enthralled as the mini polo ponies careered back and forth with their Jockies at breakneck velocity around the entire carpet lawn. … Duke plied them with the local coconut juice which spiced and blended with Bay pineapple juice, caressed their lovely day.
—-
In Willy’s laboratory, Wizard Cricket demonstrated how a mixture’ of grounded nicket paste and paleberry juice applied gently on the eyebrows of an Aussie guinea pig would bring a marked change of appearance. Willy suffered the mixture and clumsily knocked the contents of the texture into the berry juice paste and ! The guinea pig became a winking wongo - a wonderful little chap, a cousin to the Dutch Tree Squirrels.
—-
It was specially intimate between them and had provoked some envy as its sweet success for silent discourse. Sitting in the cove, Willy sniffed deeply and drew into his mind Breathair Oxy-Zone. He had been taught the trick by Master Wizard Onlywheness who had been blessed by Guardian Saint Lovely Lucinda. Onlywheness had shown Willy how to breathe and on outward breath to sound silent messages. It was a question of nose muscle control and delicate lacquering of the air with thought pellets. Willy concentrated hard. He was rusty for he hadn’t drawn on this secret power for decades but his patience was prized…
In my personal opinion, not intending any untoward imputations about anyone involved, that’s not the kind of text you tend to see when the publisher is footing the bills.

Back to the website:

Adrian wrote a sequel- Holiday Antics, which was passed as a manuscript to his literary agent but never published.
According to the Daily Mail, Adrian Jacobs lost all his money in a stock market crash in 1991.

Back to the news story:

Jacobs’s 36-page book, also about a child discovering he has magical powers, —
If you threw us into prison and only fed us on days when we could supply the title of a published work that fits that description, we could stay alive for a very long time. Many of the works we’d name antedate Willy the Wizard. Perhaps their authors should sue the Adrian Jacobs estate.
— was published in 1987, ten years before the first Harry Potter book and three years before Rowling said she came up with her idea. Jacob’s estate said many ‘concepts and themes’ were copied from ‘Willy The Wizard’ in Rowling’s ‘The Goblet of Fire’, the fourth book in the series, published in 2000.
Printing isn’t publishing. The existence somewhere of copies of a book doesn’t mean a given person saw or read one of them. Being exposed to a text, if such a thing could be shown to have happened, isn’t proof that a writer made improper use of it. I mean, these guys are citing the use of flight and transfiguration as evidence of plagiarism, as though those motifs haven’t been turning up in folk tales and fairy tales since time immemorial.
In both books, the main character competes in a magic contest and each features wizard trains and prisons.
No kidding? What a coincidence! The society I live in also has contests, mass transit, and law enforcement. Where do you suppose we got those concepts?
Jacobs died penniless in a London hospice in 1997, before the Harry Potter phenomenon took the world by storm.

Australian-based agent Max Markson, who represents Paul Allen, the trustee of Jacobs’s estate, said, “I estimate it’s a billion-dollar case.”

Max Markson isn’t an agent, and this case is outside his area of professional competence. He’s a publicist. He runs a publicity, celebrity management, and events organization firm, Markson Sparks. He calls himself Mr. Fame, and says on his website that “Max Markson can give anyone fame … and fortune.” I don’t think that’s true. I also don’t think it’s a claim a legit publicist ought to be making.
The estate also claims that Jacobs had sent the book to literary agent Christopher Little, attributed as the man who years later discovered Rowling.
The estate’s been pushing this supposed connection, saying that Jacobs “sought the services” of the agent who later took on J. K. Rowling as a client, but Victoria Strauss says she’s found no evidence that Christopher Little ever agreed to represent Jacobs. Lots of writers apply to agents and get turned down. In many cases, the agent rejects them without ever laying eyes on their book.
“Adrian Jacobs did not live long enough to see the massive success of the Harry Potter books and films. If he had, he would have sought the proper recognition of his contribution to this success story,” Allen said.
Right. It’s all about recognition. The money has nothing to do with it. I await the news that the Jacobs estate has filed suit for copyright infringement against all the other books and stories published after 1987 that contain the same motifs.

Addendum: A pertinent quote from Max Markson:

People have ideas all the time. I’ve had millions of them. The hard part isn’t having the idea, it’s making it work.
It’s nice to have the Adrian Jacobs estate’s own mouthpiece confirm that.
Comments on Rowling's being sued for plagiarism again:
#1 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 12:10 AM:

Actually, the main thing this lawsuit teaches us is that there are some lawyers who are every bit as principled as the worst of the vanity press publishers. And that perhaps there should be a Yog's Law of Lawsuits, though I haven't quite figured out where the money should actually be flowing there. Somewhere other than the lawyers, but that would never happen.

#2 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 12:30 AM:

bathroom-come-study

I wonder if he ever went blind from all that 'studying'.

#3 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 12:31 AM:

Just based on those excerpts, I'd expect a competent judge to toss the suit.

#4 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 12:54 AM:

If this guy gets any money from the suit, I think the dogs of the world could get it away from him in a class action. They've been producing better crap than this for millennia.

#5 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 12:56 AM:

Is there an alternate universe where they have vanity wizardry instead of vanity publishing?

#6 ::: Michael Bennett Cohn ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 01:03 AM:

"People who aren’t accustomed to having a lot of ideas of their own have a very poor grasp of the odds that others might independently come up with the same ideas."

How very true, and how inevitably annoying. These semi-creative people are so proud of their ideas, and so convinced of their value, and so worried that they won't have any more, that they get can get awfully paranoid about their hypothetical theft.

I went to film school with a guy who thought that he had written American Beauty, which came out while we were classmates. Except he hadn't really written American Beauty, he'd written another story (which I read) about a middle-aged man and a high-school girl, whom he first lays eyes on at a basketball game. In the man's script, everything else in his field of vision falls away as he gazes at his new obsession, just like in American Beauty, and this is one similarity that my friend kept harping on. No amount of reasoning could bring him back to reality. I'm sure he still thinks he deserves to have his name in the credits.

#7 ::: Dave Trowbridge ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 01:06 AM:

Ow, ow, ow. My eyes, my eyes! That was just what I needed after a day struggling with dreadful marketing copy. NOT.

Seriously, that's Eye of Argon territory. No, actually, it makes Eye of Argon look publishable by comparison.

#8 ::: novalis ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 01:10 AM:

When I was in high school, I took a class in writing science fiction. I have no memory of who the teacher was, but one of the things he said that stuck with me was this:

If you had an idea for a story, and you later read a published work with that same idea (whether earlier or later), you'll be tempted to think, "Darn! Someone else got there first! I guess I don't have any original ideas." Instead, he suggested, you ought to think, "My idea was so good that someone else managed to get it published! I'm going to keep at it!"

#9 ::: Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 01:52 AM:

Based on the excerpts, I defy JK Rowling or anyone else to prise "themes and concepts" out of Adrian Jacobs' book.

...Willy suffered the mixture and clumsily knocked the contents of the texture into the berry juice paste and ! The guinea pig became a winking wongo...

Suffered the mixture? Contents of the texture? Gloriosky.

As plagiarist Helene Hegemann says, "“There’s no such thing as originality anyway, just authenticity.” Gah.

#10 ::: PixelFish ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 02:39 AM:

Fully expecting Dianna Wynne Jones to poof into existence next to this guy and school him. Or Susan Cooper. Or Neil Gaiman. Or Rick Riordan. Or....well, yeah. Nobody's going to be starving in that mythical prison where you only get fed as long as you can name young wizards coming into their powers.

#11 ::: Kevin Riggle ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 03:28 AM:

novalis @8: There's a school of thought in software startups that it's a good sign when a Google or a Microsoft releases a product in your space -- it's called "market validation", and it means somebody with a lot of money thinks your space could be the Next Big Thing. This is exactly that.

As much as I'm well past sick of vampires and already sick of "Literary Classic and SFnal Thing" books, they do seem to sell well.

Though honestly, "kid comes into their powers" always sells well.

#12 ::: Simon Bradshaw ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 03:57 AM:

Some professional context before I comment: I'm a qualified (although currently non-practising) barrister in the Bar of England and Wales; I have an LLM in IP and IT law, and I am a visiting lecturer in IP law at the University of Exeter. So I think I have some knowledge of copyright issues, at least within the English legal system.

I agree with everything Teresa says.

I will be very surprised if this suit gets anywhere. Rowling's lawyers may well apply for Jacobs' claim to be struck out altogether, although I'm not sure if it is so obviously hopeless as to merit that. (To strike out a claim, you have to show that it fundamentally fails on its legal basis, e.g. by being far out of time, or putting forward a legal point that makes no sense.) More likely Rowling will apply for summary judgment, i.e. for the case to be decided on a short preliminary hearing on the basis that the claim is manifestly hopeless.

It's possible, although I'd be very surprised, that the judge may decide that in the interests of justice the case has to go to trial so that the evidence can be properly examined. Now, the figures being talked about by Jacobs' lawyers are very large, and I note that this case has been lodged directly in the High Court. That means we're looking at what is technically known as a Multi Track Trial in the Royal Courts of Justice. ('Multi Track' just means that the case is big enough it runs on the basis that the judge tailors case management to suit the issues, rather than following the standard timetable and costs policy for smaller cases.) I've been through one of those, when B had to sue her stepmother, and they are extremely expensive. As such, if the case does go ahead, I can well imagine Rowling's lawyers asking for security for costs. This is an aspect of the English 'loser pays for both sides' costs regime; if you have a weak case, the other side is entitled to ask the court to make you lodge in advance enough money to pay their costs if you lose, as a condition of proceeding. In effect, the court is saying "we will give you the benefit of the doubt as to the merits of your claim, but in the mean time put your money where your mouth is."

In case anyone is wondering if Jacobs might swing a sympathetic jury: no, because (with the limited exception of some libel trials) we don't have juries in civil cases in England. The case will be heard by a judge, and given the subject matter it will be assigned to one with significant IP experience.

I will keep an ear open as to what happens. I work only five minutes' walk from the RCJ, so if and when there is a hearing - even just an application to throw the case out - I'll see if I can go along and watch.

#13 ::: Puss in Boots ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 04:21 AM:

Poor Jacobs. Born too early to get the benefit of the SYW board on AbsoluteWrite...

#14 ::: Zander ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 04:25 AM:

The text contains errors no editor would let stand

Hmm. I've just read to the Countess a first novel, professionally published and apparently successful, in which the word "than" is spelt "then" throughout. As in "bigger then [something]." Some editor let that stand.

#15 ::: Martin Wolf ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 04:30 AM:

The "people who don't have good ideas tend to overestimate their rarity and value" thing happens not only in the literary and artistic fields, but is killing the tech industry as well.

A lot of ideas which may seem creative to a layperson, but which are fairly obvious to people working in the relevant field, and which get independently re-invented all the time, are patented so that other people cannot use them or have to pay for them.

Publish a successful product, and it's only a matter of time before you get sued for using some obvious standard technique. The result is that tech becomes a game which only a handful of huge corporations can safely play, and lots of *truly* original ideas do not see the light of day because their creators do not have the resources to survive the patents battlefield.

#16 ::: Ray Radlein ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 04:41 AM:

I was going to claim that I tweeted about this before you posted this, and that I was therefore going to sue; but, alas, it appears you actually beat me to the punch on this. All die! O, the embarrassment.

Still, in order to have something to say: "Markson Sparks"? Oy.



Addendum: Your posting/preview script is called spqr.cgi? Somehow I feel like I should at the very least post lorem ipsum text into it then.

#17 ::: Mike Norman (@mike_at_slydog) ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 04:57 AM:

It's always odd when some people's estates see the dollar signs (or pound sterling) ching before their short-sighted eyes. And that is something else I have noticed when hearing about these cases... it is usually a deceased author's estate (read family) attempting to sue another living and highly successful author, playwright, or screenwriter. Would the person actually want this to happen if they were alive?

Most of us who write (I am writing films, plays, and books) would admit that we had been beaten to the punch if a published work emerges with some ideas that may be like something we have written. But that's the thing with ideas. The creative consciousness is a big, deep, bottomless pool. For those who can tap into it whenever the need arises (I find even at times when I don't need it), we seem less precious about some of our writing or ideas, and quite frankly some things we just have to let go.

Oddly, reading those excerpts above reminds me of those software story generators that churn out semi-comprehensible prose from large lists of words and when read, read a bit like those excerpts. I am not saying that was the case, but if it was, how could anyone claim in writing something like that if you only fed random words into a software algorithm?

Writing takes work and imagination. Ideas are just not enough. Those ideas have to be turned into a journey for the reader (or viewer) that can take them on a great adventure or to fantastical worlds. J.K. Rowling has done this with the "Harry" series, sadly the work of the late Adrian Jacobs does not.

#18 ::: garry ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 05:06 AM:

it is surprising that the case was frequenticized into vision! Any writer in a particular genre is going to use themes and ideas which have been used before.
I would however like to see a case against the moronic trend to takea classic texts such as pride and prejudice and weave a shallow, badly writen horror plot through it which adds nothing. Lawyers adjust your sights!

#19 ::: garry ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 05:07 AM:

it is surprising that the case was frequenticized into vision! Any writer in a particular genre is going to use themes and ideas which have been used before.
I would however like to see a case against the moronic trend to takea classic texts such as pride and prejudice and weave a shallow, badly writen horror plot through it which adds nothing. Lawyers adjust your sights!

#20 ::: Simon Bradshaw ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 05:12 AM:

Dear garry @18 and @19

1) We heard you the first time.

2) Please point me at the dictionary where you found 'frequenticized', so that I may avoid it.

3) There are concepts called 'out of copyright' and 'in the public domain'. You might be personally offended by the consequences of them, but jeez, nobody's making you buy the books.

#21 ::: gabor ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 05:29 AM:

The publicist's form is called Markson Sparks? LOL indeed.

Everyone in the UK knows Marks & Spencer (very large retailer) as Marks & Sparks. Who's imitating who there?

#22 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 05:56 AM:

Simon Bradshaw #20: Dear garry @18 and @19 We heard you the first time.

You should be aware that Making Light's database engine doubles posts more frequently than one might expect, in a manner not under the control of the poster; it is never valid justification for criticizing someone's post, especially since the original poster is unable to remove doubled posts without the intervention of a moderator.

#23 ::: Micah ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 06:37 AM:

“Adrian Jacobs did not live long enough to see the massive success of the Harry Potter books and films. If he had, he would have sought the proper recognition of his contribution to this success story,” Allen said.

It seems cruel to insult the dead like this. I never knew Adrian Jacobs, but I prefer to assume that his being a self-published writer of rather low quality does not also make him a douchebag.

#24 ::: Andrew ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 06:58 AM:

I wonder if Marks and Spencer will sue Marxon Sparks under trademark law as it sounds very similar to Marks and Sparks which is how they are commonly known.

#25 ::: randomhuman ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 06:59 AM:

@simon #20

Re: point number 2, I think garry meant frequenctized, one of the words highlighted in TFA as an example of the poor editing of Adrian Jacob's work. I thought it was quite a funny joke tbh.

#26 ::: BSD ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 07:11 AM:

Being admitted on the wrong side of the ocean, I have to ask (directed mainly at Mr. Bradshaw) -- isn't there a statute of limitations in the jurisdiction, presumably shorter than a decade?

#27 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 07:11 AM:

Andrew @ 24... They should also sue the creators of the Girl Genius, who is also known as a Spark.

#28 ::: Steve with a book ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 07:35 AM:

The discussions of e-books on this site recently reminded me of how I invented The Best E-book Reader In The World Evar when I was a kid. You could have this paperback book, yeah, only all of the pages are actually two-sided flexible display screens, so it's not just one book, but it could be any book in the world! Impressive, eh?

Of course, 'invented' means 'I came up with the idea and I thought it was cool'. I didn't, like, build one or anything. It's the concept that counts, isn't it? And of course hundreds of other bookish kids who read articles on futureology and electronics came up with exactly the same idea. My 'omni-book' is clearly something that someone, somewhere, but not I, will actually construct within the next few years.

I think the fallacy that creative work is all about Having Ideas is partly due to the impossibility of showing the actual drudgery of literary creation in a drama. Remember that terribly corny Cole Porter biopic Night and Day? The great man is stuck for an idea late at night in his study but hears a clock ticking. Eureka! "Like the tick tick tock of the stately clock..." and that's another work of genius written. It's all about Being Inspired, not doing the bloody work.

#29 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 07:36 AM:

Argh. Just that first excerpt almost broke my brain. "Bimbo-Sad-Eyes"???!!!

Simon Bradshaw: Any chance of sanctions against the lawyers (or estate manager) pushing this?

#30 ::: pjstoneson ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 07:58 AM:

Markson Sparks is a Dr. Seuss line, right? "Marks on Sparks, and Sparks on Marks"

Hopefully this won't go very far.

#31 ::: Adam Lipkin ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 08:17 AM:

Ray @16 -- but maybe you had the idea to tweet about it before Teresa posted? In that case, it's conceivable that a lawyer, possibly named Max Markson, might be willing to take your case.

#32 ::: Oracle ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 08:46 AM:

Had she come up with original stuff instead of rehashing what everyone was all these sues would be averted.

#33 ::: Renatus ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 09:05 AM:

#32: And the Missing the Point award goes to...!

Unless that's the joke, of course. *g*

#34 ::: terrible timez ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 09:21 AM:

I'm wondering if they are aware that their case has no merit. Perhaps they brought this case up hoping the publicity would sell more of this book. It seems rather obvious that these books have little to nothing in common.

#35 ::: Pete ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 09:38 AM:

Am I the only person here who sees a bit of poetic justice in JK Rowling being on the sharp end of overly broad copyright claims?

Harry Potter Lexicon, anyone?

#36 ::: Vee ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 09:42 AM:

If I'm remembering my college literature classes right, the whole "kid coming into his powers" thing is a type of story called "monomyth." It goes like this: hero leaves the ordinary world for a supernatural one, realizing he has special powers; hero finds a guide/mentor to help him learn to use these powers. Hero leaves mentor (mentor is usually removed, by outside forces--death, capture, etc.), goes on to fight some great evil and wins, to the benefit of his fellow man.

Harry Potter? Star Wars? Lord of the Rings? Jack and the Beanstalk? Most of Greek mythology? All monomyths. It's an idea as old as we are.

#37 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 09:54 AM:

Rowling's being sued for plagiarism again? Nancy Stouffer should sue Adrian Jacobs's heirs for stealing her idea.

#38 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 09:59 AM:

I don't think that Jacobs's suit has any merit whatsoever, but I do recall Ellison getting a good chunk of money out of James Cameron based on the similarity between The Terminator and an Outer Limits "Soldier".

Or do movies and TV have different standards of proof than books?

#39 ::: Lily Wan ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 10:14 AM:

Many years ago, I had an idea for a screenplay in which, unknowingly, two assassins were married to one another and were then hired to take each other out. I developed a (very) brief outline, but then did nothing more with it. Lo and behold, 10 years later Mr & Mrs Smith came out. I am 100% sure that the creators of that movie had absolutely no knowledge of my existence, let alone my undeveloped idea, and yet they came up with something remarkably similar, in outline anyway.

I like the point made by novalis (#8), and I prefer to believe that the fact that someone else came up with a similar idea to my own means that I had a publishable idea and should keep going until something I create is successfully published. As simon with a book points out (#28) it's no good just having a decent idea or inspiration, I need to put the elbow-grease in and take my work beyond the outline stage!

#40 ::: Larry ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 10:14 AM:

Vee @36: Yup, Jospeph Campbell talks about it in "The Hero with a Thousand Faces". Maybe his estate should sue all authors for doing what he said. A lot of writers have cited his book as a source IIRC.

A question. Does the UK system work like the US one regarding settlements in cases like this?

#41 ::: NelC ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 10:20 AM:

Steve C @38: In the case of Terminator and Demon with a Glass Hand, the production company settled out of court because Cameron had said at one point that he'd "ripped off couple of Outer Limits episodes". With an admission like that on record, it was cheaper to pay off Harlan Ellison than risk the judgement going against them.

#42 ::: NelC ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 10:24 AM:

Me @41: Or Soldier. Or Soldier and Demon with a Glass Hand. Whatever.

#43 ::: chris y ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 10:45 AM:

The text contains errors no editor would let stand

You'd be surprised. I recently had the pleasure of looking at a friend's typescript which had come back from the copy editor. I don't exaggerate to say that they'd introduced new errors on every page. My favourite was the substitution of "Gaucho Marx" for Groucho, but that was one among many. I'd blame a spell checker, but it had been marked up by hand, in coloured inks.

#44 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 10:56 AM:

Michael Bennett Cohn @6, some of the nastiest legal wrangling I've seen in the arts has happened when people who don't naturally generate ideas on their own are involved in a creative project that's fallen upon hard times, and become hysterically possessive about the project's core ideas.

Simon, thank you for the expert commentary. I do feel for Rowling. I've been sued. Even if you know their claims are bogus throughout, you have to keep paying attention to the case, and you're always aware of the possibility (however low) of a very bad outcome. It just sucks the vril straight out of you.

Everyone: apologies for the comment doubling thing. We don't know what makes our database hiccup like that.

#45 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 10:57 AM:

chris y @ 42... Gaucho Marx? I want to see that movie. Which part does Margaret Dement play in this one?

#46 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 10:59 AM:

Chris Y: In colored inks? As in, inks of more than one color? Sounds like they belong in the class of copy editors who only get used once. Where did this happen?

#47 ::: Cat ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 11:13 AM:

Pete @ 35:

The Harry Potter Lexicon contained substantial chunks of JK Rowling's actual text (most of the text of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, if I recall correctly). The original material in the HPL was a rather small proportion.
Not the same thing at all.

#48 ::: Cat ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 11:17 AM:

Bah, my comment is being held for moderation because I tried to link to the comment I was replying to. You'd think it could manage to make an exception for links in the same domain. Wonder if #+comment number will work (it does in our bug-tracker in work): #12

#49 ::: Don Fitch ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 11:23 AM:

Actually, I might splurge ... ohhh... as much as $5 for Jacobs' book. Or maybe would settle for a do-it-myself (kinda) version by translating some digital/Project Gutenberg version of a Fairytale into, say, Urdu, using Babelfish, then back into English. [IOW, I think Teresa was entirely too kind in her description of the text cited.]

#50 ::: Your Obedient Serpent ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 11:24 AM:

Non-writers think it’s the ideas, rather than the execution, that make a book. They’ve got that backward.

This, to me, is the key thesis of this entire post. It needs to become one of the Laws of the Internet and Discourse in General: Hayden's Second Law of Plagiarism, perhaps?

I've given up The TV Tropes Wiki for Lent (yes, seriously), or else I'd seriously contemplate creating a "Hayden's Three Laws of Plagiarism" page thereon.

#51 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 11:25 AM:

If this succeeds, then Tolkien's estate has a claim on half the fantasy published in the last 60 years. And whoever came up with that 'ordinary kid is the chosen one' plot line.

Now if we could only get the first author of a Mary Sue to shut down that genera...

#52 ::: kid bitzer ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 11:30 AM:

@49

"Hayden's Three Laws of Plagiarism"

what do you mean, "hayden's" three laws? "hayden's" three laws?

that's outrageous! she stole them all from me!

#53 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 11:38 AM:

*All die! O, the embarrassment.*

I remember reading a couple of years ago the original SF story where this line is a refrain (it's a social convention of the alien race), but I have no idea what the story's title was or who wrote it. Anyone care to enlighten me?

#54 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 11:50 AM:

YOS #49: Whoops, you've stepped on something there... our hosts' surname is "Nielsen Hayden", (including a space, no dash). All die! O, the embarrassment!

#55 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 11:54 AM:

52
It was in Analog, back in, IIRC, the 80s.
Might be "A !Tangled Web", Sept 1981, but I'm not at all certain.

#56 ::: legionseagle ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 12:04 PM:

BSD @26: the statute of limitations for copyright infringement in the UK is six years, but it runs from the last infringing act of copyright, and as a result if this case had any legs (which I'm pretty certain it doesn't) they'd be complaining about each reprinting of HP & the GOF as a separate act of infringement, with the earlier acts falling out of the claim. The film had a worldwide release in November 2005, so presumably the timing of issuing a claim is to make sure the film is caught.

David Harmon @29: they're on the hook for an adverse costs award, which is likely (assuming they lose) to amount to about 2/3 - 3/4 of what JKR's legal expenses are in defending this. Of course, if they look impecunious there may be opportunity on her side to make an interim application for security for costs against them, requiring them to pay money into court or otherwise give a guarantee that there'll be money around to pay an adverse costs award at some later date.

#57 ::: Steven desJardins ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 12:05 PM:

I am certain, and it is "A !Tangled Web", by Joe Haldeman. Reprinted by NESFA Press in Vietnam and Other Worlds.

#58 ::: Cat ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 12:26 PM:

Pete @ 35:

The Harry Potter Lexicon contained substantial chunks of JK Rowling's actual text (most of the text of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, if I recall correctly). The original material in the HPL was a rather small proportion.
Not the same thing at all.

#59 ::: Your Obedient Serpent ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 12:43 PM:

#53 Mr. Harmon: Ah, mea culpa. I wasn't sure if that was a middle name, or a dual surname.

Oh, and there it is, in the "Spelling Reference" section that had so amused me before; I'd missed the lack of a period 'twixt "Nielsen" and "Hayden".

My apologies to our hosts.

#60 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 12:53 PM:

In related news, a Twilight fan is upset that the movie Wolfman ripped off New Moon.

#61 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 12:58 PM:

You know all those themes you were taught in high school? "Man vs. Man," "Man vs. Nature," "Man vs. Himself"? Those are themes of fiction.

I think the primary theme of the real world is "people are stupid." Discuss.

#62 ::: Steve with a book ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 01:00 PM:

One trivial point to add:

> According to the Daily Mail, Adrian Jacobs lost all his money in a stock market crash in 1991.

The UK stock market did not crash in 1991. And nor did the Dow. Possibly Black Wednesday (September 16, 1992) is meant; though shares rallied very well in the months afterwards. Or perhaps the Daily Mail is, as usual, talking a load of mad rubbish. Who can say?

#63 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 01:05 PM:

Erik Nelson #5: Curiously, vanity v. real wizardry in part of the theme of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke, which is the definitive Regency phantasy.

#64 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 01:10 PM:

Joel Polowin @ 59... When X-men came out in 2000, my wife had a few other women over to watch the DVD, and one of them thought that Cyclops's visor was a ripoff of Geordi Laforge's.

#65 ::: Harry Payne ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 01:16 PM:

This strikes me as being in the same league as Men At Work being found to have ripped off the Kookaburra song for "Down Under".

There's about ten notes that are broadly similar, the writer of the Kookaburra song took no action when she was alive and "Down Under" was a great hit, and it's her inheritors who are rubbing their hands and saying this is going to make them millions.

Trolls. We hates them, precious, we hates them forever.

#66 ::: theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 01:25 PM:

Earl Cooley III @ #22: The double posts are a patented feature of the Making Light Frequenticizer.

#67 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 01:50 PM:

I'm about to tempt the double-posting elves. But so far, I've avoided double posts by hitting "post," switching to another tab, and ignoring the ML tab until I'm done reading TVTropes. This helps me to avoid the temptation to reload, refresh, or otherwise mess with it.

#68 ::: Steve with a book ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 01:58 PM:

Today the Guardian published several pages of How To Write Fiction tips supplied by contemporary novelists. Part one is here and part two is here.

Before looking at part two, perhaps the fluorosphere would like to guess which writer had the following as his or her suggestion #2 of 10:

Find an author you admire (mine was Conrad) and copy their plots and characters in order to tell your own story, just as people learn to draw and paint by copying the masters.

#69 ::: Lauren O ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 02:01 PM:

I just spent five months working as an editor at a vanity publisher (don't judge, I did quit before I lost the last crumbs of my dignity), and those excerpts are EXACTLY like all the stuff I had to edit. I'd put money on it being self-published – which means Rowling did not see it, unless she was secretly Jacobs's mom.

#70 ::: William ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 02:04 PM:

@Teresa Nielsen Hayden: My guess is that the double-posting is not a database thing, exactly, but caused by one of a couple of common and reasonable but slightly incorrect approaches to handling web forms. One's solved by a POST-redirect-GET trick; the other, by de-duping posts either through a unique id in the form or by checking for identical content. Feel free to have your developer contact me for details.

#71 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 02:06 PM:

And then there's The Matrix,* which was apparently plagiarized from a script by Sophia Stewart. Of course, she had submitted her script to a contest run by the Wachowski brothers, and Warner employees came forward saying that her script had been used in the preparation of the motion pictures, so it's not as much a defense of Jacobs' estate's suit as it is a demonstration of what a plausible infringement suit looks like.

*And apparently also the Terminator movies? I hadn't heard about that before.

#72 ::: HelenS ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 02:07 PM:

Why do I get the feeling that Paul Allen (the trustee of Jacobs's estate, that is) is being subconsciously influenced by the more famous Paul Allen's fame to think "I, too, should be a billionaire"? Or heck, consciously.

#73 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 02:23 PM:

heresiarch @ 70 -- According to Snopes, the claim of plagiarism was not substantiated, and the lawsuit was dismissed. But at least there was plausible evidence there.

#74 ::: Throwmearope ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 03:42 PM:

I recall seeing a not-very-good Alien-s (the Sigourney Weaver ones) ripoff. And when the alien ripped through the abdominal cavity giving itself birth via a C-section, it made the wrong sound. Not at all the squelch-y sound made famous by the Alien franchise.

I told my husband, they got the sound wrong. He thought maybe the Alien franchise copyrighted the sound. If so, that would be fantastic.

#75 ::: Wrye ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 03:57 PM:

I agree with Lauren O - the copyright claims, at least, would be more plausible if the case alleged that JK Rowling was secretly Adrian Jacobs' mom. Or else had genuinely magical powers that allowed her to leach other people's ideas out of the aether...

Ah well, at least the excerpts quoted above make me appreciate the talent that Rowling brings to the table a little bit more.

#76 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 04:33 PM:

Joel Polowin @ 73: "According to Snopes, the claim of plagiarism was not substantiated, and the lawsuit was dismissed."

Oh, that's good to know. *files away with other Snopes debunkings*

#77 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 04:45 PM:

Someone said something about a statute of limitations. Perhaps what would be appropriate here would be a statute of imitations.

#78 ::: Rick York ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 05:30 PM:

Simon Bradshaw@12: I would love to know if Rowling counter-sued to recover legal expenses. If that is possible in the UK, it would be the best way to discourage these suits. Or, are most of these suits in the US?

Oracle@32: Starting with Gilgamesh (and probably before), there are no new stories. The genius of any writer or story teller is to take what we all know and frame it in ways we never envisioned, with beauty and grace.

Nothing attracts vermin like the smell of success.

#79 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 05:45 PM:

Erik Nelson @ 77... coughgagsplutter!

#80 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 05:47 PM:

Eric @77, how about this: a statue of limitations, honoring the heroic sacrifice of the many downtrodden legal professionals who were tragically disbarred for barratry, in the form of a gigantic bronze were-pit-bull defeating a craven Lady Justice. Their myriad legal defense funds could be supported by the sale of imitation statues of limitations, to be hanged (sorry, hung) on Lexus rear view mirrors in lieu of fuzzy dice.

#81 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 06:45 PM:

I'm guessing that the double posting is also often caused by me post taking time to load, the poster getting impatient and hitting "post" again. That's usually why it happens to me.

#82 ::: Smart Bob ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 07:01 PM:

HEY! I also wrote about wizards who took wizard trains while drinking wizard coffee and reading the wizard newspaper. One billion dollars please *Holds out hands*

#83 ::: Jorum ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 07:10 PM:

Those excerpts are truly horrible, if I didn't know otherwise I'd have wagered on the author having English as a second language.

A good rule of thumb is that if you have an interesting idea, then it's almost certain that someone else has had it first. Especially if it's rather generalised like this case.

I only recently discovered that some stuff I worked on ages ago about a fiction religion for a setting is not in fact original and could be almost completely accepted as a form of middle-late Christian Gnosticism.
Which is simulataneously a depressing waste of time, and cool that I independantly invented Gnosticism.

Can you be sued by an obscure religious movement?

#84 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 07:34 PM:

Smart Bob #82 Lots of people seem to be having wizard ideas.

#85 ::: Roy G. Ovrebo ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 07:47 PM:

TexAnne @ #67: so far, I've avoided double posts by hitting "post," switching to another tab, and ignoring the ML tab until I'm done reading TVTropes.

That should give you a few days, yep.

#86 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 07:59 PM:

Most of my double posts have come back as an error the first time. In fact, I think most of the posting errors that I get back eventually succeed with respect to the database, but not the front end software.

#87 ::: Frank Persol ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 08:03 PM:

Well what a wonderful array of opinions about Adrian Jacobs-yes his book Willy The Wizard was written and published and copyrighted ten years before the first HP book came out. Yes it has original expressions of ideas and was new to the genre with the wizard world ideas and visions-no its not 36 pages its actually 18, andyes it is badly written with many made up and misspelt words-but it's original plotline development and expression of ideas and the amount of it that has been copied by JKR into Harry Potter is substantial.That makes it a legitimate claim.
Let them have their day in court . FP

#88 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 08:30 PM:

Frank, you'd have to demonstrate that
a book that was privately published and distributed,
a book that was that poorly written,
was available to Rowling and
that she chose to model anything on it, rather than other books involving magic and wizards (like, say, L Frank Baum, Tolkien, CS Lewis, and LeGuin).

#90 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 09:24 PM:

PJ Evans @88 to Frank @87: or Patricia Wrede's Victorian magic tales, or Diana Wynne Jones' Chrestomanci books, or ... the list is pretty long of folks who bring magic into "normal" life. Hell, go look at Dragon Ball Z to see much of what might be similar, like the competitions.

#91 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 09:37 PM:

No, Frank at #87. It isn't a legitimate claim. It's a bullshit claim. Adrian's heirs seem to be claiming copyright on archetypes.

I think you'll find that the only thing in Adrian's book that's actually original were those misspellings.

Do you honestly think that JKR just ran out of ideas when it came time to write HP4, and was so desperate that she picked up some obscure thing and copied it?

For heaven's sake, why? What's her motivation?

It's plain to me that this lawyer wants to get some fast money, hoping that JKR will throw some cash at him to settle, just to shut him up. That's the real purpose of this nuisance suit, isn't it?

#92 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 09:37 PM:

90
I was picking them off the top of my head. Couldn't remember other names, although I was sure there were more I could have used.

#93 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 10:06 PM:

I'm merely supplementing, not disagreeing, PJ Evans.

#94 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 10:08 PM:

Googling Mr Persol's name gives me the impression he exists only to defend this lawsuit. Also to promote the "willythewizard.com" site, where those who wish may buy copies of that booklet.

#95 ::: oheso ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 11:05 PM:

Just shooting in the dark here, but if the commenting engine is making an asynchronous call to a comment-spam service, that could explain the long delay between post and response (and introduce a lot of finagling that might result in double posting).

#96 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 11:07 PM:

93
Just saying. (I don't actually read all that much fantasy.)

#97 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 11:08 PM:

Tim...OK. But also, WTF? :-)

pericat, I think that makes his post pretty much SPAM, doesn't it? Individually crafted SPAM, but SPAM nonetheless.

Perhaps the estimable (but also inestimable) JAMES D MACdONALD* or ABI or TERESA will take notice and rid us of this spammateer—or at least of his vowels.

Bwah hah, I say to you, hah.
____
*No, that's not a caps lock error AND a spelling error. Jim always insists that the d is to be minuscule, and who am I to argue? :-)

#98 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 11:21 PM:

Xopher, I think it may be astroturf. I do not think it's an honest contribution.

#99 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 11:58 PM:

Yeah, what Pericat said. Persol is an astroturfer. Check out this comment on StarPulse.com, where Persol describes Jacobs's book as "visionary".

I've banned him, but left his comment there, so we can mock it.

#100 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2010, 11:58 PM:

It's direct, it's relevant, it's short, and it seems to have some indication of at least reading at the discussion. And it's not noticeably commercial towards anyone here. I'm not a moderator, nor do I play one on TV, but I think (as long as there's not much more) it's an interesting example of what it is.

#101 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2010, 12:09 AM:

So, Tom, you're supporting Avram's decision to ban him but leave his comment standing? I'm not sure what your point is.

#102 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2010, 12:22 AM:

Frank Persol is totally unconvincing, so there's not a lot of harm he can do; and if he's associated with the estate, that makes him a potential source of original information.

On the other hand, astroturfers tend to post and run, so the question of banning him or letting him stay is likely moot.

#103 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2010, 12:40 AM:

I won't mind terribly if he gets un-banned. I just figured we don't want to encourage astroturfing.

#104 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2010, 01:24 AM:

Xopher #61: those themes were totally stolen from my novel Versus. I am suing your high-school teacher.

#105 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2010, 01:28 AM:

Xopher @101, I was writing my note at the same time Avram was writing his, and I didn't see his before mine posted. Simple asynchronous communication slippage; my point was obviated by his note, but I was unaware that was happening.

#106 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2010, 01:35 AM:

Tom: Ah. Sorry, I should have figured that out.

#107 ::: Dave Langford ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2010, 05:47 AM:

What a pity Mr Persol was banned. I was hoping for his unbiased opinion on whether the fact that wizards travel by train in Susan Cooper's Silver on the Tree (1977) and Diana Wynne Jones's Charmed Life (1977) proves that Willy the Wizard (1987) must have plagiarized these far better-known sources.

Ansible mentioned the case and cited one of the above titles last July. Surprised it hasn't been thrown out long ago.

#108 ::: chris y ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2010, 08:38 AM:

46. Where did this happen? In the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, so help us. I think the reason they used two colours of ink was most likely that they ran out of one, or mislaid the pen, or something. But as an editing job it was a travesty.

I'm not sure where the company (which shall remain nameless for the time being, to protect the guilty) lies on a continuum from vanity press to real publisher. They seem to be putting in quite a bit of effort on the production and they have contracted to give the author money, up to a point. But the standard of their work, such as I've seen so far, would shame a primary school wall magazine.

#109 ::: Irene ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2010, 09:23 AM:

Thank you very much for the link to the book! I struggled through three or four lines and gave up. IMHO, the writing itself is simply awful, and I would never buy anything this poorly written in a shop. As you so rightly say, in fiction, it's not the idea but its execution that counts.

(It's very much like those poor people who audition for X-Factor or American Idol honestly believing they can sing.)

#111 ::: Simon Bradshaw ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2010, 11:30 AM:

David Harmon @29: Any chance of sanctions against the lawyers (or estate manager) pushing this?

Well, the sanction for the literary estate manager will be an adverse costs order when this claim fails.

As for the lawyers, unless they are so misrepresenting the basis of the claim as to be trying to deceive the court, not really. The Bar Code of Conduct requires me to fearlessly represent the interests of my client. It also requires me not to make any submission to the court I know to be untrue or misleading. If the client has a weak case, you can give a pre-trial opinion that he is probably going to lose (and explain the consequences). If he insists on proceeding, you make the best of it, unless he goes so far as to try to tell you to run a line of argument that is legally invalid, or to advance evidence that you know isn't true. In which case, you return the brief on the basis of being 'professionally embarrassed.'

Judges know that you are advocating on behalf of your client, so will give you some leeway to push a weak case. But if you press on in the face of clear indications that you are flogging a dead horse, you risk public excoriation from the bench (I've seen it happen) or even a letter to your Head of Chambers suggesting a quiet word about standards of advocacy.

RIck York @78: I would love to know if Rowling counter-sued to recover legal expenses. If that is possible in the UK, it would be the best way to discourage these suits.

In the UK (or rather in England, because Scotland has a separate legal system, but I understand the costs approach is the same) you don't have to. The usual policy is that the loser pays the winner's costs, on top of any damages. Usually the actual figure is around 75-80% of costs, but it can be pushed up to all costs the winner asks for - so called 'indemnity costs' - if there is serious bad-faith conduct by the losing side, or if the losing side turned down a realistic settlement offer and then lost.

If someone tries to repeatedly sue, despite this, then you can look to strike out their claim on the basis that it is trying to re-litigate decided matters. If they persist with futile and harassing claims, then you can seek a civil restraining order to have them declared a vexatious litigant.

#112 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2010, 11:45 AM:

Not to steal from the comments about New Moon vs. The Wolfman (too much anti idiot tween dross, too little gold/wit), but I did like the suggestions "The Thing vs. Team Edward" and "Team Edward vs. George Romero's Zombies." Call me a sad sick soul but I'd pay to see those...

#113 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2010, 12:30 PM:

cat @48:
My experience is you can avoid the link tarpit for links to other messages in the same topic by including only the anchor (for example, I used <a href="#401148"> above). For messages in different topics, you should be able to omit everything up to and including the final slash (in this case, it would be <a href="012205.html#401148">).

#114 ::: Wren ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2010, 01:04 PM:

Now everyone's dumping on the late Adrian Jacobs. Let's be fair. He's not much of a writer, but he never claimed that J.K. Rowling stole from him. It's his heirs who are dragging his name through the mud.

#115 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2010, 01:47 PM:

Bruce E. Durocher II @ 112... One of these days, I'm going to have to watch "Billy the Kid versus Dracula", which I understand was one half of a doublebill(*) with "Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter".

========

(*) You know you're getting old when you remember the last days of the doublebill.

#116 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2010, 02:01 PM:

@ Wren: Yeah, I don't much care for multi-generational leeches myself.

#117 ::: HelenS ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2010, 02:09 PM:

"I think the reason they used two colours of ink was most likely that they ran out of one, or mislaid the pen, or something. But as an editing job it was a travesty."

I used to edit in two colors -- red pencil for corrections and blue for comments. That's an old standard method. Dunno whether your friend's otherwise indefensible editor was working along those lines or not.

#118 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2010, 03:52 PM:

Fascinating. I'm still boggling at Mr. Jacobs' choice of words. OMG. Infelicitous, oh yes. Sounds like the British legal system will make short work of the lawsuit, but one wonders what the effects will be of the (over) exposure of Jacobs' prose. As you well know, Bob, that is truly awful writing -- some of the worst I have encountered in a long time. Of course, I'm not a professional editor. It may be average, for some slush piles, at least.

#119 ::: Bill ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2010, 04:38 PM:

I've known people who wrote (fanfic et al) with this style of word approximation. What made me sad in those cases were the number of other people who praised their writing - people who had read the original works, who had seen what damn good writing looks like, and who yet did not seem to be able to distinguish between the real thing and a half-assed, half-thought cloudy approximation of the real thing, seen through a pair of binoculars made from jello and rocks.

#120 ::: kid bitzer ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2010, 05:26 PM:

speaking of word choice, there are certain archaisms of the british legal system that i always find charming. e.g.:

"have them declared a vexatious litigant"
and
"return the brief on the basis of being 'professionally embarrassed.'"

great turns of phrase.

#121 ::: Dave Langford ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2010, 05:49 PM:

#114 -- I'm fairly sure that Philip K. Dick wouldn't have been bothered about Google calling a phone the Nexus 6, but dead authors' families can be quite amazingly bonkers. Or grasping. Or even both.

#122 ::: Dave Langford ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2010, 05:51 PM:

#114 -- I'm fairly sure that Philip K. Dick wouldn't have been bothered about Google calling a phone the Nexus 6, but dead authors' families can be quite amazingly bonkers. Or grasping. Or even both.

#123 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2010, 06:13 PM:

I don't think there's such a thing as individually crafted spam. The thing about spam that defines it is the mass duplication, is it not?

(I would rather talk about spam than Willy the Wizard. It seems a worthier topic.)

#124 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2010, 06:23 PM:

Sandy B. (123): You're right; it's not spam, it's astroturf.

#125 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2010, 06:54 PM:

Crowdsourced spam can be individually crafted. In that case, the difference between spam and astroturf becomes one of intent.

#126 ::: AvidReader ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2010, 06:59 PM:

Well, I have read both books.
When I read Willy The Wizard I had to grab my copy of Goblet Of Fire to check things out.
There are just TOO many ideas,concepts and language similarities for this case to be without merit and there are a lot of them!

#127 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2010, 07:09 PM:

Oh, look. Another one.

#128 ::: Bill ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2010, 07:13 PM:

"Language similarities"? Looks like Rowling has a case for libel now.

#129 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2010, 07:18 PM:

AvidReader @126

There are a lot of them? Cool. Then you should be able to name three each of ideas, concepts, and language "similarities" that have not previously been used in books by writers such as Susan Cooper, Jane Yolen, Diana Wynne Jones, Neil Gaiman, or, for that matter, Joseph Campbell.

Go ahead. I'll wait.

#130 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2010, 07:19 PM:

Avid Reader, eh?

Must be, to have found "Willie the Wizard." Or, more likely, one of the author's family members or close personal friends.

Look, we know what kind of distribution and sales self-published/vanity published books get.

#131 ::: marty ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2010, 07:25 PM:

AvidSockpuppet :/

#132 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2010, 07:31 PM:

Hey, y'know Max Markson, the "Australian-based agent" representing the Jacobs estate in this dispute? His business, Markson Sparks Pty Ltd, is located at 99 Devonshire St, Sydney, Australia.

Our visitor Frank Persol was coming from IP 211.30.164.48, which resolves to a location in Sydney, maybe a kilometer away from the Markson Sparks address. What're the odds? Keep in mind that what I'm finding is not necessarily the exact location of Persol's computer. (My own IP resolves to a location a few blocks away from where I'm physically sitting.)

AvidReader, on the other hand, is writing from IP 84.83.137.66, which resolves to Oostburg, Zeeland, in the Netherlands.

#133 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2010, 07:40 PM:

Please pass the popcorn. This is just getting better and better.

#135 ::: cherish ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2010, 07:47 PM:

Tom@105: I was writing my note at the same time Avram was writing his, and I didn't see his before mine posted. Simple asynchronous communication slippage; my point was obviated by his note, but I was unaware that was happening.

Can that become a legal term in IP law?

#136 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2010, 08:13 PM:

chris y @ #43 writes:

> My favourite was the substitution of "Gaucho Marx" for Groucho

I never got into the whole 'Jane Austin' thing, but I'd pay good money to read the adventures of Gaucho Marx.

#137 ::: John Clarke ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2010, 08:36 PM:

Interesting. How passionately involved are many of these comments and how clued up as well! You would have to think they have a vested interest in the whole thing. Have they nothing better to do? One has to wonder how many of these gremlins belong to the Rowling-Little ideas factory responsible for the Potter mint and how many are genuine? As for the Willy The Wizard team- they are few and their enemy is clearly many. If they were not telling the truth they certainly would not be afflicted with this sort of malicious reaction.

#138 ::: Kelly McCullough ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2010, 08:46 PM:

Look, another one. I guess it really is time to make some popcorn.

#139 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2010, 08:46 PM:

Wow! We've been upgraded to being part of the conspiracy, John Clarke? Can I get the Sekrit T-Shirt now?

#140 ::: Valdis Kletnieks ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2010, 08:46 PM:

After reading the samples of Mr Jacob's writing, I'm surprised that his descendants haven't also sued Douglas Adam's estate regarding Vogon poetry. That's a closer match than Rowling's work...

#141 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2010, 08:55 PM:

("John Clarke" sockpuppetry)

> You would have to think they have a vested interest in the whole thing. Have they nothing better to do? One has to wonder how many of these gremlins belong to the Rowling-Little ideas factory

Funny. That reminds me of the recent car crash on Amazon where a hypersensitive and not very good romance author seemed to be unable to imagine a scenario in which all of the dozens of people mocking her were not part of the same intimate conspiracy.

#142 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2010, 09:05 PM:

Speaking only for myself, Rowling mails me a fiver every month. It's crisp too!

#143 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2010, 09:06 PM:

A vested interest, yes. This kind of frivolous litigation, and the spread of misinformation about the nature of copyright and plagiarism, hurt a lot of creative people.

"If they were not telling the truth they certainly would not be afflicted with this sort of malicious reaction." -- that's at least one bingo square.

#144 ::: rm ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2010, 09:22 PM:

If I delurk, can I get my cheque from the Rowling-Little Ideas Factory? I could really use a piece of the action.

FWIW, the kid-comes-into-his-powers plot is also what Freud (who I take to be a literary theorist, if not a scientist) called the Family Romance. Kid thinks "these are not my real parents" and it turns out to be true! Great story, isn't it?

#145 ::: John Clarke ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2010, 09:32 PM:

Thanks Joe, a billion bucks worth of "frivolous litigation" by all accounts. As for conspiracy. Perish the thought that there may be two or more dudes in the dark caverns of Little's literary colony that might join forces to rip-off the work of their fellow man... for dat old frivolous money. Perish the thought too that they might be firing blogs of Rowling-Little support between coffee breaks into blogs such as this.

#146 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2010, 09:34 PM:

If they were not telling the truth they certainly would not be afflicted with this sort of malicious reaction.

I was really trying not to parse that, because of the doubly negative subjunctive, but it appeared to me to be some flavor of 'neener neener'.

#147 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2010, 09:45 PM:

Steve Taylor @ 136... Wasn't Jane Austin a bionic woman?

#148 ::: kid bitzer ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2010, 09:49 PM:

#145--

trouble is, john, that on "blogs like this" we all pretty much know each other. we've been here awhile. we've talked about a zillion other topics. we recognize the familiar voices. and we recognize new-comers.

so if anyone new comes around shamelessly defending rowling, then we'll send them packing. but since the only newcomers on this thread have been feeble attempts to defend a limp willy, i hope you'll excuse us if we suspect you of trollery.

#149 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2010, 09:55 PM:

John Clarke, our newest defender of the Jacobs lawsuit, is also coming to us from Australia. Funny how many Australians are fans of this obscure book vanity-published in the UK. Anyway, Clarke's IP address resolves to Mildura, in Victoria. I think Muldura is right on the Victoria-New South Wales border, but it's hundreds of miles from Sydney. Still, a bit of a strange coincidence, eh?

#150 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2010, 10:00 PM:

John Clarke @ 145: "Perish the thought that there may be two or more dudes in the dark caverns of Little's literary colony that might join forces to rip-off the work of their fellow man..."

If Little thought there was money to be made on Willy the Wizard, why wouldn't they have just published it?* It's what they do. It's not like they're paying JKR any less in royalties than they would have paid Jacobs.

*After regularizing the grammar, natch.

#151 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2010, 10:06 PM:

John Clarke @ 145: I'll have you know that our caverns are well lit (all the better to read the works of our fellow man before ripping it off). But you know this from the time Adrian spent down here with us working his way through the novels of Susan Cooper and Diana Wynne Jones before ripping them off with his Willy.

#152 ::: kid bitzer ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2010, 10:08 PM:

come to think of it, #140 does seem to be a first post under that name.

#153 ::: Anticorium ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2010, 10:09 PM:

How passionately involved are many of these comments and how clued up as well!

You ivory wizard-tower elitists with your knowledge and passion sicken me.

#154 ::: Mezzanine ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2010, 10:22 PM:

How passionately involved are many of these comments and how clued up as well!

Clearly, we must be JKR's minions. After all, no-one else could possibly care what's going on, or know anything about it.

Yep, okay. I confess. I am part of a secret association of minions who go round the web looking for Harry Potter's enemies and smiting them with my clever blog comments. *bows*

#155 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2010, 10:30 PM:

heresiarch @ 142:

You get a whole fiver? Clearly it's time for me to renegotiate.

#156 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2010, 10:35 PM:

since the only newcomers on this thread have been feeble attempts to defend a limp willy

We have a winnah!

#157 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2010, 10:35 PM:

I find John Clarke's points cogent and salacious, and it would ill behoove any minion of the Little-Rowling cabal to prestidigitate further regarding their ultimate cravenitude to that pernicious influence. Far be it from this commenter to agree with the plenitude of Clarke's detractors!

Indeed, the dubitable claim of a lack of similarity between Willy and Harry is clearly null and void - one merely need examine the spellings of said names! Willy! Harry!

My case is rested.

(Somebody pass me some of that popcorn.)

#158 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2010, 10:38 PM:

Here you go. Want some brownies?

#159 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2010, 10:41 PM:

Valdis Kletnieks @ 140 ...
After reading the samples of Mr Jacob's writing, I'm surprised that his descendants haven't also sued Douglas Adam's estate regarding Vogon poetry. That's a closer match than Rowling's work...

I believe that you owe me some screen cleansing substances and a replacement beverage...

#160 ::: paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2010, 10:53 PM:

xeger, me too.

#161 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2010, 11:08 PM:

Serge @147 writes

> Steve Taylor @ 136... Wasn't Jane Austin a bionic woman?

Serge - I live in fear of pointing out something you already know, but just this once I'm going to risk it:

http://home.tiac.net/~cri/2001/austinbib.html

It was one of those things that was going around.

And while I said above that I didn't get into, I've got to admit it's hard to go past "Fence and Fencibility"

#162 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2010, 11:20 PM:

I initially thought Mr Persol's comment was astroturf because when I read it, it sounded like a set piece. Googling his name led to a number of sites where he'd apparently left much the same words, in response to any mention of this particular disagreement.* This prominently included a Facebook group I believe 'he' founded, whose purpose is to slam JKR; the pic for the group is a poorly defaced headshot of Rowling, and its membership is divided between the clueless and the bots.

That was the key for me, that decided absolutely that this lawsuit is not about gaining deserved recognition for an obscure work, but about leeching from a successful author. Better people than I have noted that ideas are a penny for a hundredweight: what matters is execution. Mr Jacobs, god rest his soul, had an idea and somehow cudgeled his way through a very few hundreds of words to fashioning something resembling a story. He included several images along the way that are more or less recognizable to anyone who has ever read fairy tales, or coming-of-age stories, or stories about magic in an ordinary world. But his images in this Willy tale are little better than isolated flashcards. He didn't have the skill to bring them out. They don't go anywhere, or illuminate any corners. His booklet is not a made thing so much as a ghost of what he might have done, had he craft and the chance to practise and develop it.

It may well be he simply didn't have time. Perhaps it was being unwell; sick people rarely have energy to spare to do much more than fight illness and he apparently was ill. If I were ill, and my illness terminal, I wouldn't balk at a vanity pressing of any stories I had on my mind, however unformed.

I think, for what it's worth, that Rowling is a huge target for a certain kind of literary scammer, and they will seize on any chance to siphon off a bit of cash. Mr Jacobs's booklet is one such hook to hang a hat on, no more or less. The willythewizarddotcom site will accept orders in four currencies; you don't set that up from your kitchen. What's needed to make a go of the selling is on the order of flinging enough mud at Rowling so that that which sticks leads buyers to their site.

In essence, this suit will go nowhere and they know it will. On the way, though, if they can work up links from high-traffic sites to their site of a slightly higher order than those devoted to drugs spam, they'll get the sales they need to profit. After all, if current awareness of the average movie-goer is such that Wolfman can be accused of ripping off Twilight, there's money to be made.

* I couldn't find any other sites where he had any other interest. Real people have more than one layer.

#163 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2010, 11:47 PM:

Lizzie, thanks! Yes, brownies sound delightful while we're waiting.

#164 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 12:06 AM:

pericat @ 162: If that's their intention, they're gambling that the profit from selling the booklet will exceed the legal expenses they're going to incur. Which will probably not be small.

#165 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 12:16 AM:

Waitaminnit, I just realized that John Clarke is accusing us of astroturfing.... My head just asploded.

#166 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 12:23 AM:

Re #137, the following quote seems applicable:

"Yes, they laughed at Galileo, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at Einstein. But remember, they also laughed at Bozo the Clown."

Finding these particular bozos mock-worthy doesn't automagically mean that there must be something of merit in the lawsuit. But then, trolls and astroturfers can't reason from B to C.

kid bitzer, #148: You just made me waste a perfectly good mouthful of iced tea.

Steve, #161: Well, of course -- that's because of the fence, silly!

#167 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 12:38 AM:

Steve Taylor @ 161... Actually, I didn't know about that one. Thanks. By the way, should I remind you of Sidney Padua's reinvention of Ada Lovelace as the Byronic Woman?

#168 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 12:51 AM:

I only got one fiver. As I took it out of the envelope, it made this frightened squeaking noise, grew legs, and scampered off behind the bookcase. I haven't seen it since, but the cat is afraid of the bookcase now.

Should I sue too?

#169 ::: Simon Bradshaw ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 01:17 AM:

kid bitzer @120: Oddly, to us English lawyers, the US system sounds very archaic, with its adherence to old-fashioned terms like 'writ' and 'plaintiff' (we have 'claim form' and 'claimant') and its use of the sort of legal Latin that we've been told to avoid since the late 1990s. But yes, we - like many old professions - still have a lot of quaint jargon.

#170 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 01:31 AM:

Joel Polowin @164 That depends on how far the suit proceeds, doesn't it? If they can take this nonsense up to the brink before dropping it, they may sell a fair count of booklets.

If that is their aim, a summary judgement against them may be the best practical outcome.

#171 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 01:41 AM:

I like "professionally embarrassed" and "vexatious litigant". They sound such clear and concise descriptions of just exactly what's going on.

(I'm obviously up too late. I should go elsewhere. I'll go elsewhere now.)

#172 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 01:47 AM:

KeithS @ 155: "You get a whole fiver? Clearly it's time for me to renegotiate."

Don't forget crisp too! Had to ask for that special.

#173 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 03:16 AM:

heresiarch #172: Don't forget crisp too! Had to ask for that special.

A crisp Fiver? I dunno, Hrairoo is a bit scrawny to be served up Peking Duck style, as he may not have enough fat on him to protect the meat while it air-dries. You'd have better luck with someone like Cowslip.

#174 ::: chris y ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 05:00 AM:

I'd pay good money to read the adventures of Gaucho Marx.

A spectre is haunting the Pampas...

#175 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 05:39 AM:

Serge @167 writes:

> By the way, should I remind you of Sidney Padua's reinvention of Ada Lovelace as the Byronic Woman?

chris y @174 writes:

> A spectre is haunting the Pampas...

The English language is in good hands here.

#176 ::: sally hunt ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 05:40 AM:

Haven't any of you more to do with your time than start a smear campaign. The truth will out when this all goes before the judge

#177 ::: allah ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 05:58 AM:

WHAT EVIL IS HERE!

#178 ::: Renatus ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 06:17 AM:

... Oh dear.

John Clarke, we know that's you (hint: you made a typical mistake with your contact info). And Allah? Really? Please stop being so childish.

#179 ::: Frank Persol ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 06:28 AM:

I am real and I am in Australia-and I havent bothered to blog on anything else it's true-but the old adage give a million monkeys typewriters and they'll write another shakesperian ouvre is clearly wrong when I read your self obsessed pro rowling anti small author diatribes and vomit.
The case has got strengths-Ive read the writ which is available to the Public-Rowling sues everyone and represses criticism-as soon as anyone pops up to defend Willy The Wizard-you all bleat-Back to the swimming pool and champagne for me-and watch out for Rowling finding out she has a case to answer-just like Jacobs lawyers say

#180 ::: Frank Persol ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 06:28 AM:

I am real and I am in Australia-and I havent bothered to blog on anything else it's true-but the old adage give a million monkeys typewriters and they'll write another shakesperian ouvre is clearly wrong when I read your self obsessed pro rowling anti small author diatribes and vomit.
The case has got strengths-Ive read the writ which is available to the Public-Rowling sues everyone and represses criticism-as soon as anyone pops up to defend Willy The Wizard-you all bleat-Back to the swimming pool and champagne for me-and watch out for Rowling finding out she has a case to answer-just like Jacobs lawyers say

#181 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 06:29 AM:

John Clarke, you dissapoint me.

When I saw that "WHAT EVIL IS HERE" I laughed, thinking it was an apt comment on the outbreak of sockpuppetry.

But it wasn't. It was just you wearing a silly hat.

#182 ::: Frank Persol ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 06:31 AM:

Frank Persol is real and is in Australia-and he havent bothered to blog on anything else it's true-but the old adage give a million monkeys typewriters and they'll write another shakesperian ouvre is clearly wrong when one reads your self obsessed pro rowling anti small author diatribes and vomit.
The case has got strengths-Persol has read the writ which is available to the Public-Rowling sues everyone and represses criticism-as soon as anyone pops up to defend Willy The Wizard-you all bleat-Back to the swimming pool and champagne for me-and watch out for Rowling finding out she has a case to answer-just like Jacobs lawyers say
AS for banning people whose comments you don't like-the Nazis used to do that-now neilsenhayden!

#183 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 06:33 AM:

Frank Persol @179

> I am real and I am in Australia

I too am real and in Australia.

Perhaps not the same Australia you're living in though. In my world it would be considered eccentric to say "Rowling sues everyone and represses criticism". Is yours the Australia where the Sydney Opera House is a black glass pyramid and Darryl Somers is Prime Minister?

#184 ::: Renatus ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 06:42 AM:

AS for banning people whose comments you don't like-the Nazis used to do that-now neilsenhayden!

Because banning childish astroturfers is exactly like suppressing news of heinous, racially motivated murders.

Your fit throwing is embarrassing, Frank. You're not even engaging in discourse, you're throwing an adolescent "YOU'RE SO MEEEEAN!" tantrum. Why on earth do you think anyone is going to take you seriously when you act like that?

Try putting your big boy pants on, reading the post and subsequent comments again, and figuring out how much of your objections have already been addressed.

#185 ::: Frank Persol ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 07:01 AM:

Jacobs book was published ten years before Rowling's book.They shared the same literary agent-the Estate maintains. The case has been trundling on since 2004. If it was so easy to have struck out Bloomsbury would have done it.Yes I admit I am partisan and on Jacobs Estates side. Willy the Wizard was a stream of amusing thoughts-it was published, it was copyrighted it was reviewed in newspapers and yes the dense and quirky writing may have accounted for its lack of success. But over 100 little points in Jacobs book have found their way into Potter plus the plotline. Thank goodness Simon Bradshaw won't ever be a judge-pontificating as you mostly are on a case you know nothing about. Rowling emplys lawyer teams to take down websites she doesnt like and repress critical comment/Jacobs estate believe she did take much from this book-much that was visionary for 1987 and not in Narnia Tolkien Earthsea or Wordt Witch-this was a published copyright work by a small first time author. Rowling has had time and editors readers agents and lackeys to help her develop potter-and now neilsenhayden bloggers to rally round her by denigrating a dead author. Oh yes and the Estate has only reprinted 1000 or so books I am told-so they are hardly doing this to make sales to meet the legal fees which will run into hundreds of thousands of pounds. Top lawyers have looked at this case and found it has great merit. They have brought it in The High Court of England-Rowling's home turf-its not some cranky claim filed in Pahrump Nevada So will you see the merit when you see the evidence? Blog then when you know whereof you write .Much LOve from Australia-home of the infinity pool and grilled lobster-plus chapagne all of which I enjoyed today-you can keep your popcorn xx FP

#186 ::: Frank Persol ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 07:01 AM:

Jacobs book was published ten years before Rowling's book.They shared the same literary agent-the Estate maintains. The case has been trundling on since 2004. If it was so easy to have struck out Bloomsbury would have done it.Yes I admit I am partisan and on Jacobs Estates side. Willy the Wizard was a stream of amusing thoughts-it was published, it was copyrighted it was reviewed in newspapers and yes the dense and quirky writing may have accounted for its lack of success. But over 100 little points in Jacobs book have found their way into Potter plus the plotline. Thank goodness Simon Bradshaw won't ever be a judge-pontificating as you mostly are on a case you know nothing about. Rowling emplys lawyer teams to take down websites she doesnt like and repress critical comment/Jacobs estate believe she did take much from this book-much that was visionary for 1987 and not in Narnia Tolkien Earthsea or Wordt Witch-this was a published copyright work by a small first time author. Rowling has had time and editors readers agents and lackeys to help her develop potter-and now neilsenhayden bloggers to rally round her by denigrating a dead author. Oh yes and the Estate has only reprinted 1000 or so books I am told-so they are hardly doing this to make sales to meet the legal fees which will run into hundreds of thousands of pounds. Top lawyers have looked at this case and found it has great merit. They have brought it in The High Court of England-Rowling's home turf-its not some cranky claim filed in Pahrump Nevada So will you see the merit when you see the evidence? Blog then when you know whereof you write .Much LOve from Australia-home of the infinity pool and grilled lobster-plus chapagne all of which I enjoyed today-you can keep your popcorn xx FP

#187 ::: Frank Persol ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 07:22 AM:

Oh yes and before I go to slepp-I did not found the Rowling Conspiracy website-I just Joined it-neither did I found the Warren Buffet one-I just put my name there too.
Anyway thank you for an amusing few moments What a pleasure it is to find such a group of intelligent people who think any small author(published and copyrighted) can be ripped off by a big entertainment Juggernaut but then it's very bad form,greed or just caddishness that makes anyone stand up for their rights-
Rowling breached the Estate's copyright-that is the case-and if they try to stifle it by asking-for huge costs paid into court-thats just another example of their fear of the truth coming -Jacobs people will find the money I'll bet-then if it's not summarily dismissed and they can pay their court costs-watch out for the Jacobs- Rowling case-see if the myths of how Rowling was discovered by her Literary agent stand up to the truth.St.Joan is a plagiariser(allegedly) Remember it's easier to steal a substantial part of an oldish small unknown book than anything else. FP

#188 ::: Frank Persol ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 07:27 AM:

-Message for Avram-great technical skills but I am some way from Surry Hills-save your sachel for the bad guys- landsman
enough now I'm bored night night all FP

#189 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 07:39 AM:

Frankly, I think this Persil chap is just Fab. He's the sort of fellow who comes in with the Tide; all Surf ace.

#190 ::: SeanH ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 07:50 AM:

So, assuming Persol et al aren't directly connected to the case, what is going on here, psychologically speaking? I mean what makes a troll do their trolling on behalf of such an obscure patron? Is it sheer contrarianism, just a desire to advocate P wherever the consensus is not-P? Or is there substantial anti-Rowling feeling attached to Internet subcultures with which I'm not familiar? Which lunatic fringe are we dealing with, here?

#191 ::: crazysoph ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 07:52 AM:

I was debating whether to get a beer with that popcorn, but Fragano's comment at #189 decided me - YES! A good Belgian beer, and maybe the start of a drinking game...

Crazy(and carefully reminding people that, whatever the timestamp says, she's actually in her mid-afternoon!)Soph

#192 ::: Frank Persol ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 07:59 AM:

No lunatic fringe-just a person who cares about the underdog-and as I knew the author years ago-have followed this case with interest. And i was wrong it's not neilsenhayden who have banned me -I apologise-who is the neo-nazi?it's Avram from starpulse-who despite his websites privacy policy has abused his administrator position to publish my IP address (which ain't hidden)and ban me from Starpulse.
Avram what happened to free speech?
And shouldn't you take this stuff down;

EXtract....

Starpulse.com created this Privacy Statement to demonstrate our commitment to Internet users privacy. The following policy discloses Starpulse.com's information collecting, use, and disclosure practices for our Web site. Our employees are required to follow our privacy policies. Those employees who violate our privacy policies are subject to disciplinary measures up to and including termination.

But you must be above all that Avram-just ban those you don't agree with.The very real FP

#193 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 08:11 AM:

The Sutherlands are visiting us here in NYC, so I've been drinking my first cup of coffee this morning while listening to Abi chortling appreciatively over this thread. ... Patrick woke up when he heard us laughing, so he's come out and is reading through the thread with us. ... Now Martin is reading it as well. Patrick's sending a note to Jim to make sure he knows what's afoot.

All mornings should be this cheerful.

#194 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 08:35 AM:

Frank, Avram is not "from Starpulse." He's a co-blogger here. After you posted here, he Googled on your name and found you'd done the same at Starpulse.

Also, the Nazis did not use to ban blog comments they didn't like.

#195 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 08:37 AM:

Starpulse, as in Hillary Duff Is Engaged Starpulse?! Wow.

#196 ::: RiceVermicelli ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 08:38 AM:

Teresa @193 - Oh they should! The baby on my lap is wondering what gave Mama this fit of giggles.

I feel like it's too early in the morning for popcorn, but it's definitely a time to break out the secret stash of Froot Loops that we've been saving for a morning with really good cartoons.

#197 ::: SeanH ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 08:42 AM:

Nazis did, however, post deceptive links to Rick Astley videos. Let's not absolve them of all Internet-based crime.

#198 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 08:43 AM:

I actually did have popcorn for lunch. Now I know why. Prescient, that was.

#199 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 08:45 AM:

Frank Persol thinks that Avram Grumer is "from Starpulse" because Avram found a comment by Persol on starpulse.com? I think you have to put in overtime to be that confused about how the interwebs work.

I'm off to take the subway to work, like the Nazis used to do. Keep the faith, co-conspirators!

#200 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 08:58 AM:

I've got a crisp fiver and a nice note from Jo Rowling says this Persol creature is either Max Markson himself or on his payroll. Any takers?

#201 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 09:03 AM:

Perish the thought that there may be two or more dudes in the dark caverns of Little's literary colony that might join forces to rip-off the work of their fellow man

Do we have another person who thinks that Making Light is somehow an Official Publisher Blog?

#202 ::: SeanH ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 09:03 AM:

Think this is Max's basic package, or the Premium Gold upgrade? How much do I have to pay to get my own syntactically-challenged troll?

#203 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 09:24 AM:

His period key must be broken.

Is anybody keeping track of bingo points? Wouldn't his claim to have enjoyed lobster and champagne today have been one? Shouldn't it be if it isn't, that "I'm a successful person unlike you rabble" trope?

Also, TNH, I'm pretty sure you're wrong; when Hitler posted anything, the SS deleted comments left and right. (But mostly left.) And wasn't it Goebbels who said that if you post a lie big enough and repeat it in enough comment sections, people would believe it?

#204 ::: tykewriter ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 09:29 AM:

Willy suffered the mixture and clumsily knocked the contents of the texture into the berry juice paste and ! The guinea pig became a winking wongo...

Diana Athill’s first rule for writing fiction: Read it aloud to yourself because that's the only way to be sure the rhythms of the sentences are OK (prose rhythms are too complex and subtle to be thought out – they can be got right only by ear).

So how do you pronounce “!”?

#205 ::: SeanH ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 09:33 AM:

A back-of-the-throat click, I believe. Or a quick onomatopoeic* gasp.

*I spelled this right the first time, EVEN THOUGH I'm still recovering from a weekend norovirus bout. Clearly I am destined for academia.

#206 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 09:36 AM:

So how do you pronounce “!”?

I bet it sounds like one of the clicks in ǃXóõ, but I don't know which one.

#207 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 09:39 AM:

My mind pronounces it with a blare of trumpets; I'm pretty sure I'd speak it "ta-da!"

My mind also twists itself in knots trying to believe that "suffering a mixture" makes sense.

#208 ::: SeanH ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 09:46 AM:

The word most resembling "suffer" that is also something you'd do to a mixture is, I think, succuss, to shake or agitate, usually in the context of homeopathy (which also introduces a link to wizardry).

#209 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 09:51 AM:

Teresa @ 194... the Nazis did not use to ban blog comments they didn't like

I thought that was more Joe Stalin's thing.

#210 ::: Anticorium ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 10:02 AM:

and now neilsenhayden bloggers to rally round her by denigrating a dead author

You do seem to be very horrified by denigration, Frank. Tell us more about how Avram is a Nazi.

#211 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 10:17 AM:

It surely isn't an accident that the plagiarism thread is the one afflicted with double posts...

#212 ::: Anticorium ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 10:22 AM:

And Frank, my last comment is to say that you are losing badly here. Let me tell you how you are coming off to the impartial reader:

One side, based on both professional and personal experience, is discussing how ideas are not copyrightable to begin with, and are in fact quite easy to come by. It is the execution that matters and it is the execution which is copyrightable. In fact, if we decide to assume that Rowling is at fault here and must pay up, then Adrian's estate should enjoy the smooth feeling of those pound notes sliding across their palms for the fraction of a second they get to hold them before turning them over to Neil Gaiman, who will smooth out a fold or two before passing them to Terry Pratchett, who will hand-deliver them to Diana Wynne Jones.

Meanwhile, the other side is talking about neo-Nazis, and has fundamentally misunderstood how so many things work that it's almost a chore to name them all. (We can start with Google and work upward from there.) You're not coming off as cheering on the underdog[1]; you're coming off as a simplistic and somewhat uneducated contrarian, and your argument-shaped objects are not actually arguments, no matter how much you'd like them to be. The wild swings between incivility and concern trolling is just a bonus. You are in hostile territory here, sir, but that's because you have chosen to take a knife to a bun fight.

[1] I considered phrasing it as "rooting for the underdog", but then remembered that he is Australian, and is doing all this single-handedly....

#213 ::: kid bitzer ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 10:25 AM:

so pretend that frank is not on the payroll of markson sparks, and really is just a decent bloke who roots for the underdog. (decent, though deeply confused).

the sad thing is that, as a group, the nielsen hayden commentariat is by no means insensitive to underdogs. a search through past threads would turn up dozens of instances where underdogs were championed, lauded, defended doggedly, both in the original post and in the comments.

what i mean is: it might actually be hard to find a group that is less dedicated to the big over the small, the institutional status quo over the outside innovator, the established powers that be over the plucky insurgent.

you've got the wrong group, frank. we're all about love for underdogs! we have flickr collections of underpet pictures!

but the estate of adrian jacobs is not the underdog in this picture. (if it were, we'd probably be rooting for them!). instead, it looks more like the estate is being a slimy git, a parasitic prat, a grifter, a chancer, a liberty-taker on the look-out for a few quick quid. a vexatious litigant.

#214 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 10:33 AM:

Frank Persol @87:

Well what a wonderful array of opinions about Adrian Jacobs-yes his book Willy The Wizard was written and published and copyrighted ten years before the first HP book came out.
1. It was written and published. Was it distributed? Was it sold? If so, how many copies did it sell?

2. You have not been listening. Commenters here have been citing other works of fantasy published before WtW that contain the same motifs, images, plot points, etc., that you claim Rowling swiped from Jacobs. How do you account for this?

Yes it has original expressions of ideas
That's a term from copyright law. What it means is that WtW was composed of new sentences, not copied verbatim from some other work. It doesn't mean the ideas were new.
and was new to the genre with the wizard world ideas and visions-
That, it most assuredly was not.

I know you're unfamiliar with the genre. If we were to get expert opinions from some professional science fiction and fantasy writers, critics, and editors, would you take their word on it?

no its not 36 pages its actually 18,
It's customary to count each side of the sheet of paper as a separate page.
andyes it is badly written with many made up and misspelt words-but it's original plotline development
It doesn't have a plot that can be stolen. It has a loose sequence of events that add up to less than the sum of their parts.
expression of ideas
Vide supra.
and the amount of it that has been copied by JKR into Harry Potter is substantial.
I have yet to see any substantiation for this claim.

Let's hypothesize, counterfactually, that J. K. Rowling copied every single idea used in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. How can you prove that she copied those ideas from Adrian Jacobs, and not from any of the hundreds of other works in which they appear? Also, how do you account for the many ideas in HP&GF that don't appear in WtW, or the many ideas in WtW that are not duplicated in HP&GF?

That makes it a legitimate claim.
I'm sorry, but you have either misled yourself, or been misled by some other person. It is not a legitimate claim, and it will not prosper.
Let them have their day in court . FP
They have the same access to the law as anyone else. Whether the case will come to trial depends on the judicial system's opinion of the merits of the case.

#215 ::: RiceVermicelli ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 10:35 AM:

you have chosen to take a knife to a bun fight.

I can't quite tell if this is a type or not.

If it's a typo, it's brilliant accident.

It it's not a typo, it's not an accident.

I puffy heart the image of Making Light commenters flinging buns at each other.

#216 ::: Anticorium ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 10:38 AM:

Quite deliberate, I assure you.

#217 ::: kid bitzer ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 10:40 AM:

@215--

yeah, it's definitely a typo.

the correct phrase is "never take a knish to a bun fight."

#218 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 11:07 AM:

PNH #199: Beware that the U-bahn does not into an U-boot turn!

#219 ::: kid bitzer ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 11:16 AM:

oh dear. my 217 fell entirely flat. all die! o, the embarrassment.

i should have remembered the old advice: "never take a naïf to a pun fight."

#220 ::: Tatterbots ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 11:25 AM:

Also, the Nazis did not use to ban blog comments they didn't like.

Really? So where are all the comments by Jews on Nazi-era blogs?

#221 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 11:27 AM:

I think we should leave the bun fight behind us. Don't you know there's a War on Derriere going on?

#222 ::: Anticorium ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 11:29 AM:

@219: Such are the perils of a blintzkrieg attack.

#223 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 11:32 AM:

Hmm, Does "Sally Hunt" at 176 smell like a sock puppet to anyone else?

Frank, speaking as someone who writes novels for a living: if you think ideas are valuable, then you have no idea how (a) the publishing industry works and (b) what copyright law is.

I dislike the Harry Potter books; they're trite, not terribly well-written, and pushe some of my buttons very hard indeed. (I really don't like English public school novels, having been educated at a -- luckily non-boarding -- school that ran on that model, stupid traditions and all.) Nevertheless, I'll take JKR's breathless derivative regurgitation of cliches over the crap you're pushing any day of the week. (Come on! "Willy the Wizard" couldn't find a commercial publisher. Or an agent. Doesn't that tell you something?)

The only people around here who perceive a billion dollar lawsuit seem to be a bunch of money-grubbing leeches who want to profit from someone else's hard work -- and their sock-puppet waving fans, for whom the mere concept of creativity is so alien that it appears intuitively obvious to them that anyone who displays it must have stolen it.

Go away, little apologist-for-bloodsuckers.

#224 ::: twif ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 11:34 AM:

it's comment threads like this that inspire me to de-lurk.

honestly, do the people who file these lawsuits even read?

#225 ::: Chris D ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 11:35 AM:

Forgive me for being presumptuous but I think I see an amicable solution here.

Frank, and anyone else who wishes to take up the cause can post examples of things Ms Rowling is alleged to have stolen. For anyone who posts an example of the same thing from a different book their side gets a point. Two points if it's pre 1984. If no one can come up with anything else then Frank's team get say 50 points. Whover has the most points by the time we all get bored is judged to have proved the righteousness of their cause and we all share popcorn, buns or barbecues as appropriate.

#226 ::: kid bitzer ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 11:40 AM:

@225--

yeah, something like that. but only if we can implement the equivalent of a 'loser pays' rule, since the winning side is going to be out a lot of time and a lot of quotations from le guin, wynne jones, etc. etc.

how exactly will frank, sally, and the mens footwear department of marks & sparks compensate us?

#227 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 11:43 AM:

Nazi-era German blogs were most likely apazines. I'd suggest consulting a fannish historian for a definitive list.

#228 ::: Anticorium ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 11:44 AM:

By the way, Frank, say hi to Max for us.

...

Oh great. Now I work for Facebook.

#229 ::: Chris D ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 11:50 AM:

@Kid Blitzer

I was thinking we'd do it more for general truth and justice like principles. Perhaps just for the warm glow we'd get if one day a lawyer says "M'lud, may I present exhibit A, a thread from the weblog Making Light".

Also just because it seems as good an excuse for a forum game as any.

And frankly, given the notoriously well read nature of the Making Light readership I'm not anticipating its going to be all that much work. (Sorry Frank)

#230 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 11:54 AM:

I would just like to say that this: If we were to get expert opinions from some professional science fiction and fantasy writers, critics, and editors, would you take their word on it?

This! This ... may well be the funniest thing I have ever in my life read, and I am eternally grateful to Frank for provoking it.

#231 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 11:56 AM:

The compensation we get from doing that is remembering and enjoying re-reading all that great fantasy we've loved.

The payment they have to make is re-reading Willy.

#232 ::: kid bitzer ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 11:57 AM:

@229--

you're right about the lack of effort, chris. my aging brain struggles to come up with old quotes, but there are people around here who have the entire corpus of fantasy at their fingertips. and if they get going, then a forum game it will be.

(fingertips on a corpus of fantasy? that metaphor is not going anywhere savory.)

#233 ::: legionseagle ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 12:00 PM:

following up the suggestions made by Chris D, Exhibit A: The Aunt and Amabel by E. Nesbit from The Magic World published 1912: here.

Please note that this is not merely cited for use of magic train but because the station from which Amabel departs is Bigwardrobespareroom, thus niftily getting CS Lewis as well

#234 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 12:05 PM:

kid bitzer #219: oh dear. my 217 fell entirely flat.

No, no, that was horrified silence. ;-)

#235 ::: frank persol ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 12:05 PM:

Dear Ms Nielsenhayden and happy bunfighters-I apologise for the passion,for my foolishness,for my lack of computer knowledge and my proximity to Central Sydney I apologise for calling Avram a Nazi-it was when he said he had banned me from a website==not the act of a freedom loving fellow you might agree-but I forgive him. Forgive me MS Hayden but you poured vitriol on the Jacobs claim and allegedly read and dissected the 18 page (I can count both sides of a book page)plus flyleaf and cover-you obviously havent handled the book-but ,Pray good Lady-show me where in those earlier works you cite are Wizard Only Trains with or without Wizard Chess being played on them Show me books full of international wizards from modern real places dressed in their native costumes,show me the Wizard Clinics and Wizard Hospitals, The Advanced wizard College courses in Europe? Show me gambling wizards (alright a witch had a bet in Worst Witch-show me wizards that needed to earn money by marketing?
Wizard that invented things with long price lists which they put on sale and lastly show me where there is a [plotline) involving artificially held hostages by half human creatures as part of a wizards (non agrissuve non violent indirect contest) where the wizard learns his task in a luxuriuous bathroom-show me another book with that in, apart from Willy The Wizard and Goblet of Fire. Jacobs estate arent saying that everything in Goblet of Fire came from their little book,they are saying that most of their little book has been stolen and reworked into Goblet Of Fire-if you really want to see all the evidence-come to the Courtcase in England-Be open minded and credit Jacobs Estate with some honesty integrity and bravado-and courage,

Now about these buns-are they with or without icing? FP
FP

All these - show them to your bloggers in earlier books-and as for seeing the evidence-no you havent-and the estate has sought expert advice in both the literary and forensic linguistics field and it has taken them years to get to the stage where they could bring an action against little-an action that could cost them dearly-and lastly the family are not running the action-an independent trustee is with careful English legal advice. No you havent seen the substantive evidenec-and your opinion is that there is no plot0well that's plain wrong. Now as to my lobster and champagne-Oscar Wilde said living well is the best revenge
so what if Mr Jacobs wrote -deliberately many silly words and words that popped into his head, so what if it wasnt proofread-it was distributed we read that Cecil Turner sent it out to many shops and retailers it was reviewed in The Daily Express,and a number of copies went to Chris Little the Literary agent who tenm years later received a book

#236 ::: frank persol ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 12:11 PM:

named Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire from an unknown author-a miss Joanne Rowling

thank you for not banning me-I bear no malice and I am sorry I mistook vitriolic criticism for a bunfight.Or is that the other way round
Yours obviously on the payroll
Frank

#237 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 12:14 PM:

If I'm to be part of a conspiracy, I want a lapel pin and a engraved beer mug, and I think we need a secret handshake... no: a secret gesture.

FP, we are not "denigrating a dead author." We are laughing ourselves silly at his prose, and we are suggesting his heirs are greedy people who don't know anything about the fantasy genre or publishing books. I'm with Charlie Stross, I dislike the Harry Potter books, but you know what? That's entirely irrelevant to the issue. I dislike turnips, too, but my dislike for turnips does not lead me to confuse them with yams.

#238 ::: Kelly McCullough ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 12:16 PM:

BTW, can someone point me to the world where ideas are more valuable than the execution? Because I think I get paid better there. I've had more than a thousand novel ideas over the past two decades of writing vs. just fourteen completed novels.

Hell, if someone could even point out the world where novels submitted to an agent with famous clients deserve money commensurate with professionally published novels, I'd be doing better. Getting paid for all fourteen instead of just the five that show up in bookstores would definitely improve my financials.

I'm dreaming, aren't I? Just like the leeches avid supporters who've attached themselves to the estate of Mr. Jacobs. Ah well, such is life.

#239 ::: Anticorium ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 12:22 PM:

The Advanced wizard College courses in Europe?

Bloody hell, Frank, I even gave you Terry Pratchett as a freebie. Some gratitude you show.

Also, are you sure that in a crowd like this you want to argue that there was no precedent for a board game involving animated pieces? Because, by George, it seems that's what you're saying.

#240 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 12:30 PM:

> brought a knife to a bun fight
Excellent - I'll bring butter. Sounds like Teresa's already made the coffee....

(I'm back on the Left Coast, so it's breakfast time now...)

#241 ::: Chris D ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 12:47 PM:

Ah, Frank, and I was afraid you wouldn't want to play.

Anticorum "Because, by George, it seems that's what you're saying."

That wouldn't be George Lucas you're referring to would it? Of circa 1977, 10 years before Willy the Wizard, talking bear and tin-man animated chess game on an era appropriate but defying the laws of physics as we know it mode of transport fame would it? With free disgruntled orphan learns mysterious powers from mysterious mentor then confronts dark lord and parenting issues with band of faithful companions megadeal.

Sorry Frank, no points for you on the chess. Now I suppose you could argue that Jedi /= Wizard and Spaceship /= Train but I'm not sure you want to go down that route because if you want to get too specific about things then someone just has to point out that your wizards aren't called Harry Potter and Dumbledore and you don't have a case anymore.

Also I'm assuming your argument isn't anything as crass as they both have wizards in so Rowling must have been copying. That's not what you're saying is it Frank, that would just be silly.

#242 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 12:47 PM:

Online self-valorization is a challenging sport. Persol's "I apologize for the passion" is a commendable attempt to compete, but on a forum still reeling from recent masterpieces such as "I'm aware that it's terribly in vogue to be jaded and world-weary, but I just can't seem to let go of my idealism", Persol just isn't in the major leagues.

#243 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 12:48 PM:

This is getting hard to take.

#244 ::: frank persol ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 12:50 PM:

Lizzy it's good to laugh.
what does the word prose mean?,
and anticorium,bless you no I wouldnt want to argue writing intellectual property or copyright or anything mentally strenuous that I know naught about with this crowd-I'm obviously outclassed outgunned and surrounded by some sharp people-novel writers and artists-good luck to you all-may your work never get ripped off ten years after you created it-however good you may think it is-by the agent you took it to. G.

I haven't read Terry Pratchett-but thanks for the tip-can you give me the title of the one with the Advanced Wizarding Courses in Europe-pre 1987 =save me ploughing through or putting off reading him for another forty years-and I will eat another lobster if I am wrong=alright maybe a small sardine. Whilst you are there -you are right I am not a scifi fan, looked out of the window a lot at school,didnt read much fantasy-having lived in a fantasy world myself for years-
but where is Wizard Chess (note the capitals ) played-not that that's relevant to the lawsuit either way-anyway

Bunfighters I'm on the ropes its 4.48 am in Sydney and I have a hard days swimming and getting irradiated by the sun and risking food poisoning at the restaurant by the beach-so I shall look in again-I rather like it in here xx FP

#245 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 12:53 PM:

Frank, it's a truism in SF&F that "there are no new ideas" -- everything comes down to what a writer makes of the ideas to hand. The reason Ms. Rowling made the bucks and your departed client didn't was because Rowling could actually write coherently.

In contrast, "Willy the Wizard" is at best a Slushkiller 4 ("Author is on bad terms with the Muse of Language"), with some hints of SK 3 ("Author has a serious neurochemical disorder..."). Despite the vanity pressing, it's not publishable or salable in any commercial venue, and should this case actually reach trial, Rowling can pick any random editor to tell the judge as much.

#246 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 12:54 PM:

what does the word prose mean?

You're kidding, right? I mean, really.

From Dictionary.com: "the ordinary form of spoken or written language, without metrical structure, as distinguished from poetry or verse"

You really didn't know that?

#247 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 12:57 PM:

I'm just annoyed that this is playing out while I'm supposed to be working. Hot buttered popcorn makes quite a mess of the keyboard.

And to think I was playing just this game with Eragon and antecedents this week.

#248 ::: Dave Langford ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 01:00 PM:

Animated chessmen? I remember writing the CHESS entry for The Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997), with a 14th/15th-century example:

... in the MABINOGION, "Peredur Son of Efrawg" includes a magical chess-set whose pieces move unaided, prefiguring many later stories of anthropomorphized chessmen.
#249 ::: Emma ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 01:01 PM:

I have been lurking with appalled fascination, if such an emotion be possible... I started reading fantasy and science fiction at age three or so, and I think I've read (and watched!) more young wizard/young prince/young warrior comes of age stories than are good for the neurons of any one person. Each one had elements that resembled some of the others. It's a given since they are all based on the same archetype. George Lucas "stole" from Homer and Homer probably "stole" from some poor bard who worked in the oral tradition.

I guess all of you that make your living at writing should start combing through your work to find possible lawsuits against Rowlings or the Tolkien estate!

#250 ::: Renatus ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 01:01 PM:

Michael Roberts @ 243: I concur. I'm cringing far more than I'm snickering.

Also, it's getting drafty from all the points whizzing unimpeded over Frank's head. *puts on another sweater*

Frank, you don't seem to have even the foggiest clue of what you're talking about. You've demonstrated zero familiarity with the genre and you've ignored the multiple examples of wizard schools and wizard trappings that pre-exist Willy that have been pointed out repeatedly. Are you being a brick-headed nuisance on purpose, or do you really have no clue how thick you're coming across as?

#251 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 01:13 PM:

frank person (244): what does the word prose mean?

OW! Ow, ow, ow. *This* is the person accusing Rowling of plagiarism?!

#252 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 01:14 PM:

Frank, 244: Moliere reference FTW!

Which makes me think he's only pretending to be unlettered.

#253 ::: frank persol ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 01:17 PM:

Chris D your#241 very erudite but wrong.
Not animated chess Wizard Chess-called Wizard Chess not Chess the Musical or Fantasia or even
Dostoyevskys unpublsihed work War and Chess

Oh and Chris=
I really must be tired-er last time I looked a Jedi was a Jedi and a spaceship wasnt a train
even one like Mr Jacobs special train made of see through platinum with Wizard Chess Masters playing
er you know...........

sorry can't play any more g'night

#254 ::: legionseagle ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 01:17 PM:

Frank Persol@244:

That would be Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett, featuring Unseen University. Published 1987 so you might try to claim a dead heat, but I suspect you will find that his manuscript reached his agent/publisher significantly before that date.

#255 ::: Branko Collin ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 01:36 PM:

"Which makes me think he's only pretending to be unlettered."

I doubt one could finish law school with the reading comprehension skills Frank's displaying here.

"That would be Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett, featuring Unseen University. Published 1987"

The Unseen University was already mentioned in Pratchett's first, The Colour of Magic, 1983.

Animated chess games: Archon for the Commodore 64, 1983; Battlechess for the Commodore Amiga, 1988; and there is an animated chess game in the fourth season of Lexx, episode The Game, 2002.

#256 ::: Chris D ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 01:40 PM:

Frank, are you claiming that it's purely the names that matter not the ideas that they represent? Because in that case I think you've demolished your own case. If it's just getting the exact names that matter then I don't think you're going to find anything else that matches between Willy the Wizard and Harry Potter. We can play by those rules if you wish but then you're going to have to show where the exact names occur in both books, are you sure that's what you want?

As for Wizard's Chess itself. Imagine you were writing a book about wizards. They have their own version of Chess. What would you call it? I suppose if Wizards Chess was a registered trademark of the Jacobs estate then you might have a case but then we'd be looking at a case of trademark infringement rather than plagiarism. I suspect it's unlikely as I don't think you can trademark imaginary concepts.

I'll also mention the magical train in The Enchanted Wood(Enid Blyton,1939. No Frank it's not called the "Wizards Only Train" but there isn't one of those in Harry Potter either.

Good Night Frank

Sleep Well

#257 ::: beth meacham ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 01:44 PM:

T: "I know you're unfamiliar with the genre. If we were to get expert opinions from some professional science fiction and fantasy writers, critics, and editors, would you take their word on it?"

You made me laugh out loud and scare the cat on my lap.

#258 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 01:44 PM:

He's looking for something specifically named Wizard Chess. Animated/live chess games go way back, as Dave Langford points out (I watched live chess games in the SCA in the very early 70s, and one is a major feature in Dorothy Dunnett's Pawn in Frankincense. I'd have to go re-read Nesbit, but I think she featured something very like that, possibly with that name, as well as the aforementioned wizard trains, around the turn of the 19th/20th century.

#259 ::: frank persol ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 01:48 PM:

#250 Renatus Thanks for straightening me out -I am a bit thick really compared to an intellectual colossus like you bestriding the blogosphere but no one is claiming Jacobs invented wizard schools=or wizard trappings as you so articulately put it.
Unlike You I have seen the public part of the UK Writ at the Court-and no I am not a lawyer and yes this may be difficult for you to understand
and its more complex than you are obviously able to grasp-but that s why you are not a copyright Queens Counsel leading the Jacobs case before the high court of England .
#242 Carrie Just Kidding=I know prose are golfers who get paid-and #246Texanne =well spotted!

I am not saying exact names mean plagiarism-nor do I make any legal representations on behalf of the Estatein these blogs-like I said I'm not a lawyer nor a novelist and obviously out of my depth in a world of well read folks-Just re-read my response-un replied to to our Moderator .

Sorry all your points go over my head-I cannot argue the case articulately enough nor legally,
all I will say is thank you for your generous welcome to newcomers your natural support for the rights of small authors and your absolute certainty that Jacobs Estate will Lose. Judging by renatus and general opinion-which I judge to be so wrong as to be perverse
Jacobs Estate can send the sccountants in

#260 ::: alex ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 01:50 PM:

Can anyone still pile on? I think the assertion that the 'bath' thing is somehow plagiarism is a good gauge of the desperation at work here. So Willy sits in his own bath and reads something off a screen. Wow. Where's the ghost? Where's the funny egg-thing? Where's the submerging and the hearing-the-language thing? Where's there anything even remotely similar except the dam' bath?

#261 ::: Branko Collin ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 01:52 PM:

Wikipedia has this to say about living/animated chess games: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_chess

I'd say Rowling is more likely to have gotten her idea from Lewis Carol than from somebody with the writing skills of a jam sandwich.

#262 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 01:55 PM:

#261, I'm sure there are several sandwiches out there that would be hurt by such a comparison. There's a store-brand plum jam I'm quite familiar with that's downright clever and articulate on a nice seven-grain bread, as jam sandwiches go.

#263 ::: RiceVermicelli ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 01:56 PM:

Frank @ 235 - This isn't going well for you, and the constant references to shellfish are reminding me of Lord Peter's opinions of lobster and champagne.

Does the half-human only pretends to take hostages plotline sound like a Justice League bit to anyone but me? I know there's an episode of Batman The Animated Series in which Ra's al Ghul arranges to kidnap Talia and Dick Greyson in order to set up Batman. It's post-1987, but it provides substantial support for the theory that the Jones estate is chasing the money from the highest-profile target. (Also, it may have been ripped from an earlier Batman plotline.)

#264 ::: Anticorium ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 02:00 PM:

Attention, bettors: the over/under on time between Flounce and Inevitable Next Post was 18 minutes, but the official time shows as 31. Congratulations to those who put money on "over", and my condolences to those who blew this week's Rowling-Little payoff cheque on "under".

#265 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 02:01 PM:

thank you for your generous welcome to newcomers

Bingo!

#266 ::: Lisa Spangenberg ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 02:05 PM:

I notice that World Cat has no library listed anywhere as having a copy of The Adventures of Willy the Wizard. Nor does the book even have a LOC or BL catalog number.

This is a bogus case, and why the judge didn't just throw it out is a mystery. The "similarities" are so broad that I can find most of them in Medieval English metrical romances--this is, by the way, a terribly convincing technique to use with juries.

There are no similarities in style, or syntax; indeed, as many have noted, Jacob's text is barely in English.

On "living chess," there are lots of them in medieval and Renaissance history, as well as in fiction (the Best One EVAH is in Dorothy Dunnett's Pawn in Frankincense).

Finally, while I find it telling that plagiarism is etymologically tied to a root meaning kidnapping, let's keep in mind that neither British nor American law, nor even the Berne Convention agreements, have a problem with plagiarism. You can plagiarize a work that is out of copyright, and while you may be an unethical hack, it is not illegal. Violating copyright is illegal--and this particular case doesn't seem to have anything more than a handful of exceedingly common motifs in common. The texts are so very very strikingly different that it's ludicrous to suggest any sort of derivative relationship between the works of Rowling and Jacobs.

This is an idiotic greed-inspired case. I am sorry that Rowling has to waste the countless hours it will no doubt suck from her life.

#267 ::: Renatus ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 02:15 PM:

259: Sorry all your points go over my head-I cannot argue the case articulately enough nor legally,

Yet you keep posting. Slow day under that bridge, huh?

Anticorium @ 264: Heehee!

I'm also very fond of your 'knife to a bun fight'. That's one I have to find further use for.

Mint chocolate pie, anyone?

#268 ::: HelenS ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 02:18 PM:

Also, the Nazis did not use to ban blog comments they didn't like.

They DIDN'T? Oh, dear, there goes my best historical novel (shuffles through manuscripts in bottom drawer, totters to recycle bin).

#269 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 02:24 PM:

HelenS @ 268... Or you could call it an Alternate History. Make sure that nobody sues you for writing one of those.

#270 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 02:35 PM:

There's also ERB's The Chessmen Of Mars, where the game (jetan) is played by people on a giant chessboard playing field.

Frank, all that stuff you list @235 are examples of ideas. Ideas are not copyrightable. You cannot own an idea.

your absolute certainty that Jacobs Estate will Lose

They're toast. They're toast on toast.

#271 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 02:47 PM:

tykewriter 204: So how do you pronounce “!”?

I know this isn't a serious question, but as I happen to know the answer, I'm going to stick my hand in the air and go "Oo! Oo!"

Back when it was pronounced, it was pronounced "io" (or "yo," in modern usage). In fact the symbol itself is historically a ligature* for 'IO' (the dot being an O). 'Io' is Latin for "hey!" I regret that I don't whether they said "io!" whenever they came to the mark in Latin text, but I wouldn't be surprised.

By the way, '?' is also a Latin ligature for 'qo', which is in turn an abbreviation for 'quo' (which I think means "what," but the real Latin scholars here can correct me if I have that wrong. Again, I don't know if they pronounced it.

We don't, though. In modern English the two marks only indicate intonation patterns when read aloud, so I wasn't saying "Ooyo Ooyo" while waving to be called on above—though come to think of it that might get the teacher's attention!

Anticorium 210: You do seem to be very horrified by denigration, Frank. Tell us more about how Avram is a Nazi.

I...will...not...pun...on...'denigration'!

Emma 249: I have been lurking with appalled fascination, if such an emotion be possible.

It's most often called "fascinated horror."
____
*Like æ for 'ae' or & for 'et'.

#272 ::: linnen ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 02:55 PM:

Re enchanted chess set, "Sorcery and Cecelia Or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot" [1988] by Patricia C. Wrede, Caroline Stevermer.

#273 ::: rm ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 02:55 PM:

On wizard chess, wizard wheezes, wizard wizards:

Although I have no desire to join the "argument" (why kick a troll when he's down?) I feel compelled to mention that in some of the British school stories that Charlie Stross hates, "wizard" is an adjective. I learned this at St. Custard's where anything really cool is wizard.

So, for instance, Molesworth is not only the origin of "Hogwarts" (thus illustrating the difference between homage and plagiarism) but of "a wizard wheeze," which means "a good practical joke."

#274 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 02:56 PM:

HelenS @268 - NO! That would be too cool. I wanna read it.

Frank @253 - so on the one hand, you think the phrase "Wizard Chess" is an indicator of plagiarism, but on the other hand you want it just to be about the ideas, and on the gripping hand you mention "see-through platinum", which exists nowhere in Rowling's opus, so ... I'm lost. This is a very quixotic venture for Joe Random Public to take on, and you seem to be posting in a few different venues, ahem, that would come up on Google for your keywords. Forgive us for thinking you're astoturfing, but ... you're astroturfing. You're not posting from the beach cabana, and this isn't something you're doing for fun. Ergo, you're on the payroll.

Tell you what. Post a picture of yourself with today's newspaper, on the beach, and I'll believe that part. But until that time, as far as I'm concerned, you're sitting in your mom's basement like the rest of us.

#275 ::: David Dyer-Bennet ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 02:56 PM:

Sigh. This is the danger of being a big target!

Also one more reason why it's better if more people have some vague understanding of how writing and publishing works!

#276 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 02:58 PM:

This plaintive plaintiff's writ (pure complaint if read) has wrought pain in the wits of well-written folk, but can be explained--if also planed*--as a plain tiff.

*ObSF Anathem, though I don't know if it counts as Ob

Lizzy L @ 237: "I think we need a secret handshake... no: a secret gesture."

I think we already do: *headdesk*

eric @ 247: "And to think I was playing just this game with Eragon and antecedents this week."

My friend, on seeing a movie poster for Eragon: "Oh, it's just 'Dragon' with the 'D' rotated forward one letter."

#277 ::: David Dyer-Bennet ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 02:59 PM:

Michael@274: I am not either in my mom's basement! She doesn't even have a basement any more.

(However, my room at home IS in the basement; it's just that it's my basement. I've never lived in anybody else's basement.)

#278 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 03:07 PM:

heresiarch @276 - capital! Well played, sir!

David @277 - yeah, well, my Mom has a basement again, but there's no broadband there, so I stay at my house instead.

#279 ::: legionseagle ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 03:08 PM:

Frank@ 259

If you have indeed seen a copy of the proceedings filed in this case, can I draw to your attention the two words which appear in the top left hand corner, just to the right of the coat-of-arms? Claim Form. It will make your commentary on this case sound marginally less silly if you avoid using terminology like "Writ" which was, in English legal procedure, abolished last century.

#280 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 03:10 PM:

see-through platinum

Closest I've got is transparent alumin(i)um, but that's Star Trek.

#281 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 03:12 PM:

As for the basement thing, am I the only one who thinks Frank Persol might just be a misguided teenager, as opposed to a professional astroturfer? Teens can be mind-bogglingly single-minded, have lots of time, tend to be ignorant of a lot of things (including the structure of a well-formed argument), and write horrendously. I call a match.

Michael 276: heresiarch @276 - capital! Well played, sir!

Um, I think that should be ma'am. Women can lead heretics too, you know.

#282 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 03:17 PM:

Frank appears to be losing his touch. At 12:50 PM (Making Light timestamps are US Eastern Standard Time) he was signing off because he was about to undertake "a hard days swimming and getting irradiated by the sun and risking food poisoning at the restaurant by the beach." 27 minutes later, he ended a subsequent post with "sorry can't play any more g'night". 31 minutes after that, he was back with another 239 words, but no further mention of his plans for the day. Has Frank abandoned swimming, sunbathing, and eating in beach restaurants? Is he now transfixed by the Medusa that is Making Light, ignoring the glorious Sydney morning (79 degrees F, sunny and clear) as he hunches over his keyboard in a dark apartment, furiously reloading the lengthening comment thread as he polishes his next textual thunderbolt? I think we should be told.

#283 ::: Bill ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 03:19 PM:

Xopher @281: "Women can lead heretics too, you know."

Dibs on the t-shirt.

#284 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 03:19 PM:

Indeed, Patrick, it would be irresponsible not to speculate.

#285 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 03:26 PM:

"see-through platinum", which exists nowhere in Rowling's opus,

It exists in Star Trek, though, or at least "transparent aluminum" does. Clearly the writers of Star Trek IV used their own time-travel mechanisms to go forward a year to 1987 and steal the idea.

It's unclear whether this would fall under the "vague similarity of ideas" standard that is used to determine whether Rowling "stole" ideas, or the "identical terminology required" standard used to determine whether uses of the same idea centuries or decades earlier count as the same thing, though.

#286 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 03:28 PM:

Steve, #183: Also, clearly, Frank's Australia is the one in which the Internet was invented prior to WWII. Do you suppose there was an obelisk on the moon as well?

Anticorum, #212: Your footnote is pure gold.

twif, #224: No. They don't.

Lisa, #266: "Living chess" games were popular at SCA events back in the 1970s, and some Renaissance Faires continue to feature them.

#287 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 03:43 PM:

Patrick Nielsen Hayden @ 282 and Xopher @ 284:

Perhaps he's posting from an alternate, faster timestream, which would also explain the rushed-looking nature of his posts.

#288 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 03:54 PM:

#235-236 and a number of copies went to Chris Little the Literary agent who tenm years later received a book

...

named Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire from an unknown author-a miss Joanne Rowling

Actually, by the time he got The Goblet of Fire she wasn't an unknown author. By then she was a world-famous author. I can just see the scene: She's turned in The Prisoner of Azkaban and OMFG! And Zounds! She calls her agent on the phone and howls, "I've run out of ideas! I don't know what to doooooo!" But that's okay, because he instantly flashes on some slush that he saw ten years before. And he says, "Why not have a contest? A wizard contest. With three ... no, four! contestants!" And she says, her voice breaking with sobs, "Oh, thank you, thank you! I could never in a million years have thought of that by myself!" And the rest is history.

That's what you want us to believe?

#186: Rowling has had time and editors readers agents and lackeys to help her develop potter-and now neilsenhayden bloggers to rally round her by denigrating a dead author.

You have us wrong, Frank. We're not denigrating a dead author. We're mocking a live lawyer. There's a difference.

#289 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 03:56 PM:

Hmm, Patrick, now that I reread some of his comments (a painful process), it seems plausible that he stayed up all night, and once it was 4:48 AM started trying to go to bed because of the UPCOMING day of swimming &c., but just. couldn't. stop. hitting Refresh.

I've been there myself, actually. Though even at 5:00 AM my comments are, you know, like punctuated and stuff. And I seldom Flounce. And...well, other differences are obvious, but "o gods, it's morning, good night" is not that alien to my experience.

The more I think about it, the more I think he's a teenager. I couldn't understand why he kept mentioning the beach and so on, until I realized he's trying to make us jealous that it's summer in Australia, and winter in the US and UK (where the Rowlingite Conspiracy presumably all live). Laughably childish in an "oh look, this kitten is attacking my shoelace! What a feerce predditer!" kind of way.

My point (you just knew I had one, and in my case I'm definitely not hiding it in my hair): I don't think that's something an adult would do. Of course, it could be a 50-year-old with the emotional maturity (and writing skills) of a 14-year-old, or someone doing an absolutely brilliant imitation, but that's my hypothesis and I'm sticking with it.

#290 ::: JMS ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 04:04 PM:

I love it when the piñata brings itself to the party! So convenient.

#291 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 04:07 PM:

lorax @285 - indeed, and it even exists in the real world, albeit for very short periods of time.

Xopher @276 - I sit corrected, and heresiarch, sorry, I not only didn't know, I didn't know I didn't know.

#292 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 04:09 PM:

Xopher...re-read my comment.

#293 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 04:13 PM:

Then re-read it again.

#294 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 04:24 PM:

"Living Chess"

On British TV in the ninth episode of the series The Prisoner, first aired 24th November 1967, location filming in September 1966.

I think Mr. Persol is headed for a wizard prang.

#295 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 04:28 PM:

I seem to remember an early Sixties Buck Rogers story that involved a Living Chess Set. Not sure though.

#296 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 04:36 PM:

Xopher @ 281: "Um, I think that should be ma'am. Women can lead heretics too, you know."

Rather, that could be ma'am--I make a point to keep that information off the internet. You'd be amazed how many "You're only saying that because you're a ______" arguments it avoids.

Michael Roberts @ 291: "I sit corrected, and heresiarch, sorry, I not only didn't know, I didn't know I didn't know."

Ah, well, what is there to know?

#297 ::: twif ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 04:36 PM:

Branko Collinman@255: i just remembered battle chess and was going to bring that up. bastard. [grin]

#298 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 04:40 PM:

Ah, Patrick, I did misread you. Sorry.

heresiarch, sorry, I thought you'd said that you were female here.

#299 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 04:50 PM:

heresiarch @ 298 - I don't know!

But now I'm relieved, knowing that Xopher doesn't know. You know, no-one could have known. You've got us snowed.

#300 ::: Curious ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 04:53 PM:

What about a case like the Terminator movie versus Ellison? Seemed to me Ellison didn't have much of a claim there (it was just ideas, execution completely different).

#301 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 05:02 PM:

Frank Persol #244: "what does the word prose mean?"


MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
Well, what do you know about that! These forty years now, I've been speaking
in prose without knowing it! How grateful am I to you for teaching me that!
So, what I wish to tell the gentle lady is: "Fair Marquise, your lovely eyes
make me die of love," but in a way that's elegant, and nicely turned.

(Molière: The Bourgeois Gentleman).

Could it be that the laundry detergent will be urging a lawsuit against M. Poquelin for stealing his idea next?

#302 ::: Kelly McCullough ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 05:12 PM:

Curious @ 300, already answered, see comment #41 by NelC.

#303 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 05:19 PM:

Besides, Harlan Ellison is a known asshole, so you can't go by him.

#304 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 05:24 PM:

#300 "Curious" What about a case like the Terminator movie versus Ellison?

What's different is this:

One of the most famous examples of that came after James Cameron finished The Terminator. According to Marc Shapiro's biography of the director, a visiting journalist asked where he had gotten the idea for it, and Cameron said, "Oh, I ripped off a couple of Harlan Ellison stories." Shapiro also quotes Ellison as saying he found the "smoking gun" in a Starlog article in which Cameron was quoted as saying he got the idea for The Terminator from "a couple of Outer Limits segments." The episodes in question had both been written by Ellison.
#305 ::: Curious ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 05:27 PM:

Lol, Xopher.

Re #304. I'm assuming Mr.Cameron learned to be more careful about his wording in interviews afterwards!

#306 ::: Dave Langford ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 05:29 PM:

#294 "Living Chess" / On British TV in the ninth episode of the series The Prisoner, first aired 24th November 1967, location filming in September 1966.

Or to pull a bit from the CHESS entry in the current SF Encyclopedia-in-progress:

Such live chess spectacles date back to mediaeval times: Book V of François RABELAIS's Gargantua and Pantagruel (1532-1552) includes an example.
#307 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 05:34 PM:

Oh, the humanity! Fragano @301 plagiarized meeeeee!

#308 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 05:42 PM:

TexAnne @307:

Oh, the humanity!

Herbert Morrison's heirs and assigns will be in touch with you shortly.

#309 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 05:57 PM:

Eight minutes, abi! You're slowing down! Or were you sizzling in champagne and drinking the beach?

#310 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 06:03 PM:

@ 309... drinking the beach?

Oh, the humidity!

#311 ::: David Dyer-Bennet ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 06:07 PM:

@281,283: Setting aside that I'm now sure both that I do not know what gender applies to heresiarch, and that I am not supposed to know -- let me know when the t-shirts (which have nothing to do with heresiarch other than having been inspired by the brief confusion) are read!

#312 ::: David Dyer-Bennet ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 06:07 PM:

@281,283: Setting aside that I'm now sure both that I do not know what gender applies to heresiarch, and that I am not supposed to know -- let me know when the t-shirts (which have nothing to do with heresiarch other than having been inspired by the brief confusion) are ready!

#313 ::: David Dyer-Bennet ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 06:08 PM:

Well, drat; apologies for #311. I thought it was sitting at the preview screen, not processing an attempt to post.

#314 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 06:10 PM:

Herbert Morrison's heirs have been tied up for the last while fending off a lawsuit from the heirs of Lillian Bell. Which is also why they never managed to get around to going after Les Nessman.

#315 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 06:17 PM:

David DD-B #313:

Hard for us old farts to see, but when "POST" has actually been clicked, there is the faintest of dotted lines running just inside the edge of the button.

#316 ::: tykewriter ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 06:23 PM:

Xopher 271: no it wasn’t a serious question, as serious questions go, but I’m very glad you stuck your hand up. I had no idea that the explanation mark (as I like to call it) is derived from the ligature for “Io”, as in “And Io Io Io / By priest and people sungen”.

I am much enlightened.

Thank you.

#317 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 06:26 PM:

JMO @ 314 - Les Nessman is actually where I heard that for the first time, in the turkey drop episode. Good Lord, that was the best show on television, ever. I still say about moldy glasses, "Don't touch that! It's a science experiment!"

#318 ::: Dan ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 06:33 PM:

First I waste a perfectly good 45 minutes reading this comment thread (um, yeah, while at the office). Then I get off on a Web searching tangent which leads to, among other things, Harry and the Potters' first album which contains the cut "Wizard Chess"; men's platinum shiny see-thru swim trunks; and the willywizard.com Web site where an animated guy in a suit gives you stock tips. Then I come back to this comment thread, which is long and rich in character development, clearly moving us towards the next stage of development of the novel as online interactive long-form fiction.

When I first started reading science fiction mmbdty years ago, I just knew that 21st C. would be a magical place, and goshwow, *it really is.*

#319 ::: Anticorium ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 06:41 PM:

interactive long-form fiction

There was an invisibility cloak in Zork III, and lo and behold, there's an invisibility cloak in the first Harry Potter book.

Dave Lebling, call your lawyer.

#320 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 06:44 PM:

#136 and 147:
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a woman in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of power-assisted artificial limbs and a kick-ass fighting style.

#321 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 06:44 PM:

Xopher @ 298: "heresiarch, sorry, I thought you'd said that you were female here."

Nothing to be sorry for! For one thing, enough people assume male that it's nice to have someone assume in the other direction now and again.

Michael Roberts @ 299: "You've got us snowed."

BWA HA HA HA HA H-*cough cough*

Ahem. Frog in my throat. Carry on.

(The frog, by the way, is a boy.)

David Dyer-Bennet @ 312: "let me know when the t-shirts (which have nothing to do with heresiarch other than having been inspired by the brief confusion) are ready!"

I'm afraid you'll have to wait for a while; my lawyers are currently contacting Xopher's lawyers over potential intellectual property violations. They've instructed me to under no circumstances admit that this is just a ploy to extort chocolate out of him. So, um, keep that quiet if you would.

#322 ::: Parris ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 06:45 PM:

::de-lurking::

Threads like this make me keep coming back to ML, although I don't post here, intimidated by the excellence of the conversation already in progress.

Not only is this a classic thread to enjoy, thank you legionseagle #233 for linking to an E Nesbit work I'd never seen. Nesbit was the first major influence on my elementary school reading that lead me to the SF/F life I live now. I still linger in the mummy rooms at the British Museum, just in case. (Thank you, as always, Aunt Winifred).

Frank Persol: Please let me know what beach you frequent in Australia. I will be enjoying a month-long vacation in Australia later this year, and would really like to avoid being on the same beach, for fear the Morton Bay Bugs and lobster will run out with both of us demanding mass quantities at the same time.

And to all the newly-born trolls - really, you've stumbled into the wrong bar - now just back out slowly and get on your way to someplace where there might be people who, like yourselves, are so damn gullible they'll believe the confabulation you're pushing.

::re-lurking, while chuckling about a knish to a bun fight....::

#323 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 06:51 PM:

heresiarch 321: I saw what you did there.

Besides, if you ever decide to be female, I can sue you, because that was my idea.

#324 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 06:56 PM:

Kelly @238: BTW, can someone point me to the world where ideas are more valuable than the execution?

I think that'd be the world of patent trolling, where you come up with an idea, do nothing with it, let someone else actually come up with an execution, and then shake the victim down for money.

Lisa @266, I suspect that Rowling's publisher and lawyers will be taking care of most of the work.

But I have been wondering if it's possible that Jacobs's Willy the Wizard is a hoax. I haven't seen any evidence of it actually existing in 1987. According to the whois information for willythewizard.com, that domain was first registered on 30 Sep 2008.

#325 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 06:58 PM:

Xopher @ 323: "Besides, if you ever decide to be female, I can sue you, because that was my idea."

Touche. =)

#326 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 07:01 PM:

Xopher -- but being female has a long history. Why, there are examples of it even in the Bible.

#327 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 07:04 PM:

TexAnne #307: Moi, je parle seulement en vers. Ou est-ce que je parle envers?

#328 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 07:07 PM:

Avram, for a Nazi you have a very devious mind.

#329 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 07:14 PM:

Xopher @289 writes:

> I couldn't understand why he kept mentioning the beach and so on, until I realized he's trying to make us jealous that it's summer in Australia, and winter in the US and UK

And also that Australia has some mythically wonderful lifestyle duplicated nowhere in the world. From what I understand, if one absolutely must eat crustaceans, they are available in a number of countries.

> Laughably childish in an "oh look, this kitten is attacking my shoelace! What a feerce predditer!" kind of way.

I would say "Deeply embarrassing in a 'For Christ's sake lay off Frank - you're making me ashamed to be Australian.' way".

#330 ::: Andy Brazil ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 07:16 PM:

So I'm chortling away here when I suddenly got hit with a stray thought only tangently related. In my case I wrote a very short piece for 365tomorrows a few months ago, and finding it on my hard drive the other day, I cleaned it up and sent it off. Just now I've suddenly realised that the punchline is almost certainly "inspired" by something I read 20 years ago. The embarrassing thing is that while I can't remember what the story was, I have a sinking feeling that it's famous and that anyone with more than a passing acquaintance with the genre is going to recognise the swipe straight away.

And so I'm looking at twenty feet of analogs on the bookshelves, and forty years of reading SF, and realising that everyone of those stories is potentially floating around in my sub-conscious.

And I'm thinking that yes, there are no new ideas, and everything’s in the execution. But the next time I might get this really cool idea for a story about a guy in a rocket with limited fuel and a cute stowaway...

So how do professionals handle this? Do any of you ever get cold feet and worry that your latest cool idea is just something you read a long time ago? Has anyone got it into print before they recognised it? Is it plagiarism if you don't know you're doing it? (OK I know it's not actually plagiarism, but like, err, you know, wouldn't you find yourself "professionally embarrassed"?)

#331 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 07:18 PM:

heresiarch @ #276:
My friend, on seeing a movie poster for Eragon: "Oh, it's just 'Dragon' with the 'D' rotated forward one letter."

I infuriated my youngest daughter during her Eragon-fan phase by suggesting that the sequels would be named "Fragon" "Gragon" and "Hragon".

#332 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 07:20 PM:

Tom, I'm not claiming to have created "being female," or even to have created heresiarch, male or female created I not hir. No, just the idea of heresiarch being female (in those exact words), which appears to be original with me.

#333 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 07:29 PM:

Avram @ 324: I've been thinking that if this matter ever does get as far as judicial examination, at least some of the Jacobs heirs' evidence is likely to suffer from the same kinds of, hm, fundamental systematic flaws as Stouffer's did.

#334 ::: Bill ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 07:30 PM:

Xopher @ 323: "Besides, if you ever decide to be female, I can sue you, because that was my idea."

But I have been causing gender confusion since 1991, and for proof I have a letter that you certainly saw as it was in written form and we all know that you are able to read.

#335 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 08:16 PM:

heresiarch @ #276: I kept reading Aragorn for Eragon.

#336 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 08:29 PM:

Any mention of post-1987 idea precedents here may provide fodder for current and future frivolous lawsuits. We're doing the black hat's research for them.

#337 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 08:36 PM:

Aaaaagh! Not only is Fragano doing it again, he's doing it in French, which makes it worse.

(Or verse?)

(No, that'd be more likely German...)

#338 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 08:38 PM:

Aha! The previous filers of frivolous lawsuits should sue the Jacobs estate for stealing their idea!

#339 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 08:40 PM:

Xopher #323: Besides, if you ever decide to be female, I can sue you, because that was my idea.

Vatican copyright trolls would have higher standing in the case, as the infraction could be considered an example of an unauthorized transformative work subject to DMCA takedown.

#340 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 09:00 PM:

Xopher@271, cool! So "Yo Yo Yo Cthulhu Fthagn!!!"

I made the mistake of going to the website to read excerpts from the book. There are very few actual ideas there; there are occasional phrases or sometimes entire sentences that may contain homeopathic quantities of ideation, or at best resemble the sort of martini dilution where the bottle of vermouth has been opened in the presence of the gin but not actually tilted or poured, without the benefits imparted by the underlying gin. Perhaps some of it's the fault of the website authors who wanted to provide some excerpts to show similarity without actually giving away enough prose to allow anyone to reconstruct it? But really, it's work that makes The Eye of Argon look literate; I doubt I'd be able to get through 36 pages of it even without the rule about keeping a straight face, nor can I see asserting that JKR must have done so even if she'd somehow hypothetically acquired one of the 5000 copies that were printed, perhaps by scrounging in the discard bins at a used bookstore.

And in a way it's too bad - the illustrations at the website look like Jacobs might have been trying to do a cheerful lightweight children's picture book, not that I'd want to waste the time of any children I know on a book that the author didn't think was worth editing. (At least the illustrator had some skills, and it's possible that Jacobs was a nice guy even if he wasn't a writer.)

I'm surprised the website chose to mention the "see-through platinum", which is a transparent recycling of transparent aluminum. An author who doesn't mind borrowing other people's ideas shouldn't mind having his own borrowed, and his heirs shouldn't mind either, not that I think that happened. I don't see anything on Willy's website that's also in Rowling that doesn't fall out pretty directly from the concept "Let's set a [Coming-of-age]-story in a [Wizard]-genre in an [English Public Boarding School] setting and explore the obvious cross-products."

#341 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 09:10 PM:

Which makes me wonder...

Not commenting about any specific person or case or anything.

As we all know, there are heaven's own plenty of vanity and self-published books these days, and more every day, things which, if the author hustles his buns off, will sell 75 copies, mostly to the author himself.

Suppose some unscrupulous person got a bunch of them when they appeared ... and sat on them. Waiting.

Waiting until some future best-seller made megamillions. Then checking through the vanity-press books in his collection for one with a similarity, however tenuous, with some idea in that best seller.

Then, the scammer would approach the author, or, better still, the author's heirs, with a story about how the Mega Seller was based on Uncle Toby's book and therefore the heirs are in line to get some fabulous amount of money if it can be proved in court.

But first, to bring the case, there's the matter of hiring a forensic literary expert. I know one who will work for a very reasonable fee. Pay it now, and you will be greatly rewarded! Good news! The forensic literary expert has produced a report that is very favorable to our case. But, it is necessary to hire a linguist to show the great similarities in language. Another fee, but very reasonable, considering how rich you'll soon be. Happy day! The linguist has reported that there are definite similarities in the language between Uncle Toby's book and the best seller! Now, a filing fee. Don't worry, just give it to me and I'll take care of it. Ah, what's this? The case must be moved to a higher court! That's another filing fee, but you have certainly come too far to turn back now! The lawyer is asking for a retainer, but no fear! When you win your case, which is a sure thing, you'll be able to pay yourself back out of the award!

The lawyer has requested that records be made of all the places Uncle Toby sold books. That will require the services of a private detective. No fear, though, for I know of a private detective, highly recommended, who is charges a very reasonable amount for his time.

I see this as an infinitely expandable 419 advance-fee scheme.

Some unscrupulous person is probably buying copies of AuthorHouse and PublishAmerica books right now with that in mind.

#342 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 09:16 PM:

Jim Macdonald @341, I suspect that this is even easier and less time-consuming for the scammer if they don't bother to buy the books at all, and instead just browse online blurbs for the books, looking for similarities there. Given the level of "similarity" going on, that'd probably be enough for them to identify a useful target without going to all that bother of actually reading self-published books, much less paying for them.

#343 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 09:33 PM:

Unlike Quidditch or Jetan or Klin Zha, "Wizard Chess" is not a distinctive name. It's a label that's being used as a name, which is the only reason it's capitalized. It's also not a singular and distinctive invention, like Quidditch. If another book features wizards who play chess, referring to the game as wizard chess isn't a violation of copyright. The only similarity is the idea of wizardly chess, which (a.) can't be copyrighted or trademarked, and (b.) isn't original to Adrian Jacobs anyway.

Mr. Persol should pay attention to Dave Langford, who really did write the entry on chess in The Encyclopedia of Fantasy, and to the other commenters here who've added to the timeline of magical/animated chess games. The most famous one is of course the chess game in Lewis Carroll's Alice Through the Looking Glass, published in 1871, but there's no shortage of examples. Note: I've included works that came out in 1988 because they have to have been in the pipeline when WtW came out.

1350: "Peredur Son of Efrawg," in the Mabinogion (Llyfr Gwyn Rhydderch).
1454: Supposed date of the first game of human chess played in Marostica, Italy.
1564: Rabelais, Gargantua and Pantagruel, Book V.
1871: Lewis Carroll, Alice Through the Looking Glass.
1922: Edgar Rice Burroughs, The Chessmen of Mars.
1923: First game of human chess played in modern times in Marostica, Italy.
1947: Fritz Leiber, "The Dreams of Albert Moreland," in Night's Black Agents.
1953: Kurt Vonnegut, "All the King's Horses."
1967, November 24: "Checkmate," ninth episode of The Prisoner, filmed in September 1966.
1969: Dorothy Dunnett, A Pawn in Frankincense.
1970s: Human chess is introduced at SCA events, and thereafter remains popular at Renaissance Faires.
1977: George Lucas, Star Wars.
1983: Archon, game for the Commodore 64.
1987: Adrian Jacobs, Willy the Wizard.
1988: Pat Wrede and Caroline Stevermer, Sorcery and Cecelia; or, The Enchanted Chocolate Pot.
1988: Battle Chess, game for the Commodore Amiga.

It's hardly a complete list. It's far from being a complete list. It's also arguably an irrelevant list, because Willy the Wizard doesn't belong on it. The other works were distributed and sold to the general public. I have yet to see any evidence that that's true of Willy the Wizard. As Lisa Spangenberg said @266:

I notice that World Cat has no library listed anywhere as having a copy of The Adventures of Willy the Wizard. Nor does the book even have a LOC or BL catalog number.
If you assume that WtW got any kind of normal distribution, the absence of that data is kind of hard to explain.

This is why Mr. Markson and the Jacobs estate are pushing Adrian Jacobs' nonexistent connection with Christopher Little, the literary agent who later took on J. K. Rowling. The chances are nil that Little transmitted Jacobs' ideas to Rowling, but Persol and Markson still have to insist that it happened, because it's literally the only way Rowling could have been exposed to Jacobs' work.

Add me to the list of people who can't believe this hasn't been thrown out of court.

#344 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 09:54 PM:

Add me to the list of people who can't believe this hasn't been thrown out of court.

I can't find the comment where this was said, but I believe an English barrister explained somewhere above that the suit is at the stage in the UK legal system where it could only be thrown out if it had no merit even assuming that everything alleged was true. So if I sued Barack Obama for running me over with a Segway, it couldn't be thrown out at this stage, no matter how silly the idea is that he might have done such a thing.

#345 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 09:59 PM:

Aha, it was Simon Bradshaw at 12.

I will be very surprised if this suit gets anywhere. Rowling's lawyers may well apply for Jacobs' claim to be struck out altogether, although I'm not sure if it is so obviously hopeless as to merit that. (To strike out a claim, you have to show that it fundamentally fails on its legal basis, e.g. by being far out of time, or putting forward a legal point that makes no sense.) More likely Rowling will apply for summary judgment, i.e. for the case to be decided on a short preliminary hearing on the basis that the claim is manifestly hopeless.

#346 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 10:06 PM:

Xopher (338): That's *my* idea! I said it way up there in comment #37! I'll sue!!111!!!

#347 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 10:07 PM:

I'm just wondering whether Frank will be gracing us with his presence this evening.

#348 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 10:14 PM:

Mary Aileen 346: That's *my* idea! I said it way up there in comment #37! I'll sue!!111!!!

Oh no!!! I'll have to pay many $$$!!! OH NOES!!11!!!sin²Θ+cos²Θ!!

#349 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 10:23 PM:

Lisa Spangeberg writes:

"I notice that World Cat has no library listed anywhere as having a copy of The Adventures of Willy the Wizard. Nor does the book even have a LOC or BL catalog number."

There is in fact a British Library copy of the Willy the Wizard book, cataloged as "Livid Land", national bib. no. GB8858009.

WorldCat lists 7 holdings in all: the British Library (2 copies), Cambridge, Oxford, National Library of Scotland, Trinity College in Dublin, and Lagrange College in Georgia. COPAC also lists a copy in the National Library of Wales. With the exception of Lagrange, I believe all these libraries are legal deposit libraries that normally get every book published in the UK and Ireland.

#350 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 10:33 PM:

John Mark, how do you know it's the Willy the Wizard book if it's called Livid Land? I'm not doubting you, I'm just confused. It occurs to me that Willy the Wizard may not be the only book with a character by that name.

And would those legal deposit libraries contain copies of self-pubbed books? Is there any way to tell when the books were added to the collections? I ask because it's important to know whether the book has been there for 15 years or was just added to prepare for this lawsuit.

#351 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 10:48 PM:

Andy Brazil @330: I've had that happen a few times with music, and I'm very, very careful to figure out what's making that same resonance in my memory. The few times that I've actually found the connection, it's thankfully been more toward the chord structure than melody line, and enough different that I can cheerfully say "inspired by" rather than "damn, I have to scrap that."

I've never had the deadline-inspired panic, though. I think that if it does turn out that your piece is unduly similar, just tell the truth that you had read the original years ago and it must have bubbled to the top of your brain.

People make mistakes, I'm sure they'll sympathize.

#352 ::: MacAllister ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 10:54 PM:

Xopher @350 - It looks as if there were more than one Willy the Wizard book planned, and the pamphlet Teresa links on the WtW website is apparently, erm, "No 1: The Livid Land" on the cover they've uploaded here.

I'm now going to queasily contemplate calculated alliteration carried out for volume after volume.

#353 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 10:55 PM:

Xopher asks:

"how do you know it's the Willy the Wizard book if it's called Livid Land?"

If you look at the cover on the Willy site, you see "Tha Adventures of Willy the Wizard" in one corner, and "No. 1: Livid Land" in another. So most of the libraries with the book cataloged it using "Livid Land" as the main book title, and "The Adventures of Willy the Wizard" (or just "Willy the Wizard") as the series title. The WorldCat master record I turned up includes both elements.

I can't easily tell the date of acquisition by the various libraries, but it might be possible to determine by someone familiar with their catalogs. (The national bib. number ranges in the British Library might correlate with particular years, for instance, but I don't know offhand how they work.)

I do note that the Lagrange library copy, the one non-depository copy I can find, is a reprint: it says "Reprinted by The Print Shop, The Common, Stockenchurch, Bucks., on behalf of the Trustee of the Estate of Adrian Jacobs, 2008. " The copy is currently checked out.

It's not uncommon for depository libraries to have self-published (or vanity-published) books. Not all of them are in there; copies aren't always sent out, and depository libraries aren't always required to keep everything they're sent indefinitely. (The Library of Congress doesn't. I don't know how the system works in the UK.) But I not infrequently run across books that are only in depository libraries and nowhere else, and they're often of the self-published or vanity-published variety.

#354 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 11:07 PM:

heresiarch, #321, when I first started reading the SFF forum on AOL, I could see that the men stuck together and the women stuck together. I decided to make a non-gendered name: Patterner. I found out later that everybody assumed I was male because of the way I "spoke."

Allen Steele wanted to know why I didn't at least make it Patterneress or Lady Patterner. He came to better sense later.

#355 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 11:37 PM:

Jim Macdonald at 341:
It seems a bit impractical though. If you are a fly-by-night it would be very impractical to buy stuff that takes up lots of storage space and might or might not prove useful many years from now.

#356 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2010, 11:50 PM:

Marilee @ 354: "Allen Steele wanted to know why I didn't at least make it Patterneress or Lady Patterner."

When obviously the real question was why you didn't make it Pretty Pink Pattern Princess. I assume it was already taken?

#358 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 12:24 AM:

351, 357: The only time that I know of that I realized I had inadvertently quoted another melody, it was in such a different context that I decided to leave it in. Anyone who likes a puzzle can try to find it... but I bet nobody will. (One might have to be of a certain age to know the original in any case.)

#359 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 12:56 AM:

Xopher, #298: I thought that too. But in the end, it doesn't really matter.

Michael, #317: Nobody had better make a science experiment out of MY glasses! I need them for typing!

"Psst, Lee, that's drinking glasses, not eyeglasses."

Oh. Nevermind.

Andy, #330: One canonical example of that sort of thing is David Gerrold's "The Trouble With Tribbles". As he puts it (paraphrased), he thought he was retelling the "rabbits in Australia" story, and only after someone else pointed out that there were certain similarities between tribbles and Martian flat cats did he remember that he, too, had read The Rolling Stones as a youngling. That one was settled amicably; Heinlein, contacted, said that he didn't see enough similarity to worry him -- only the basic idea, and ideas aren't unique.

#360 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 12:59 AM:

Marilee @ #354, would that be the Steele who wrote the Coyote books? I'm currently very annoyed at the state library system; it has books one and two but not the rest.

#361 ::: Matt Austern ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 12:59 AM:

Echoing others... Thanks for the punctuation mark history, Xopher! I had no idea that they started out as ligatures. Any other fun typographical tidbits for us?

#362 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 01:37 AM:

Re: the chronology of animate chess game examples

Would it be utterly too pedantic of me to note that the game in Peredur -- identified by the name gwyddbwyll -- may or may not have been intended to be chess in that particular story? While the word was, at some point, transferred to the game of chess, its etymology and cognates indicate that the word was in used long before the introduction of chess itself in that region. The studies I've seen on the topic of medieval Welsh board games tend to feel that there isn't sufficient evidence to determine the nature of the game being referred to by this name in most cases. (There's significantly more evidence regarding early forms of the game known as tawlbwrdd, although that word, too, was later used to indicate chess in later times.)

Still and all, in Peredur there's definitely a board game, with game-pieces that play each other and shout "as if they were people".

#363 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 02:37 AM:

"Too pedantic"? Can someone translate that for me?

#364 ::: MacAllister ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 03:31 AM:

Teresa @363, as far as I can tell, "too pedantic" is what (especially) medievalists and other people who study highly-specialized fields are afraid they're being, when they're feeling compelled to discuss in detail some specific and arcane bit of data -- it's a question that gets asked often in our house, as in: "Is it too pedantic and mind-numbingly boring, d'ya think, if I explain how the function of in-fixes in that dead language affected Middle English versions of..."

What I love about the fluorosphere is how bits of information and clarity that might be considered pedantic elsewhere are in fact welcome bits of knowledge and trivia and fodder for impromptu punning and poetry games.

#365 ::: John Clarke ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 03:50 AM:

Of course you knew it was me Renatus because you have been digging out people's IP addresses. Haven't you? You naughty middle-aged dreadfully confused Servant-of-The-Ruthless-Rowling you. I only hope your masters are paying you well. And, of course, I had no idea you had mental health issues as you so honestly expound about at length on

http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/012147.html

or I wouldn't have remarked on all that EVIL stuff. Brrrrrrrrrr! Terribly old fashioned word that. As out of place as grammar in Joyce's Finnegan's Wake or honesty in the soul of Christopher Little or any of the hacks who work for him... including Rowling.

As for others who may have had the misfortune to visit this site and be tempted to comment.... you are a lamb, dear reader,.... in a lake of sharks. All those strange phrases, idiot arguments, pseudo-analyses that can turn an elephant's leg into a tree trunk at will and all repeated elsewhere on then net with different names appended. Leave, never to return! Because for that is what I am doing.

Rowling's little gremlins at large clearly
rejoice in their wickedness. Do-no-wrongs the lot of them like their overseers; instruments of evil, trolling day and night for mud, any mud, from the mound to the clod, to sling at the Jacobs' team so that truth may never see the light of day.(How right you are Frank Persol!) But, not for long, because the truth embodied in Adrian Jacobs' noble and honest work will see them all despatched to the pit from whence they crawled. The sooner the better. Let us pray.

#366 ::: MacAllister ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 03:57 AM:

Okay. That's just . . . astonishing.

And not in the good way.

#367 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 04:02 AM:

John Clarke @ 365... :-)

#368 ::: SeanH ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 04:20 AM:

the truth embodied in Adrian Jacobs' noble and honest work will see them all despatched to the pit from whence they crawled. The sooner the better. Let us pray

You're not even trying anymore.

#369 ::: alex ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 04:28 AM:

OK, all back away smiling sympathetically.

#370 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 04:53 AM:

John Clarke @365

Sorry John - you've just graduated from kook to creep, and the best thing to do with creeps is ignore them.

#371 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 05:08 AM:

John @ 365: If you want to make some friends, try this recipe:

Ingredients
1 cup of mixed nuts (unsalted)
1/3 cup of butter
1 cup of packed brown sugar
1 beaten egg
½ teaspoon of vanilla
1 cup of all purpose flour
½ teaspoon of baking powder

1.Preheat oven to 350. Grease an 8x8x2 inch baking pan. Set aside. In a medium sauce pan, heat butter and brown sugar stirring constantly until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and let it cool slightly.

2.Stir in vanilla and egg. Stir in flour and baking powder until well combined. Stir in the nuts and spread batter onto greased pan.

3.Bake for 25 minutes and test to see if center is ready by inserting a toothpick in the center of the pan. If it comes out clean remove from the oven and let it cool slightly on a wire rack. Cut into bars while still warm. Let cool completely in the pan.

Znxrf nobhg 20 ahgonef.

#372 ::: Dave Langford ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 05:15 AM:

#365 (superflounce): despatched to the pit from whence they crawled.

A flagrant imitation of Ursula Le Guin's fondly remembered proto-Thog line "Back to the saurian ooze from whence it sprung!" (Unwept, unhonor'd, and unsung.)

#373 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 06:00 AM:

#365: Applause! Brilliant parody!

#374 ::: Renatus ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 06:17 AM:

Facepalm.

I'm sorry, John. You fail at the internet. Here's your sign!

#375 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 06:57 AM:

Jim, Serge, you are too kindly optimistic.

#376 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 07:18 AM:

Is John Clarke @365 a laundered identity?

#377 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 07:23 AM:

John Clarke plagiarized John Grisham's first name and Susanna Clarke's surname. I think they should sue.

#378 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 07:52 AM:

Pendrift: If he is really Australian he more likely plagiarised the name of our rather brilliant writer, comedian, actor and legend John Clarke. If he's not the real John Clarke (and the lack of any real wit in any of his postings is a sure sign that he isn't) he should be ashamed and then deported.

#379 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 07:59 AM:

John Clarke @365 -- the Goon Show reference is a dead giveaway that you're not being serious at this point. You are Bluebottle and I claim my 5 Euros!

#380 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 08:13 AM:

I'm terribly late to the party.

I brought some !s and a mention of Lord Darcy's trains; where shall I put them?

And I'd like to admire the "I don't know what I'm talking about, but I know I'm right" trollism, repeated as a theme and variations. It's lovely; where did you get it?

#381 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 08:21 AM:

John Clarke @365 is susceptible to a dilute solution of bleach.

Renatus has not "been digging out people's IP addresses," yet @178 knows that John Clarke is Allah @177. So would anyone else who clicked on Allah's "view all by." Was ever a sockpuppeteer half as clever as he thought he was?

Now, I really have been looking at IP addresses. They tell me that Allah @177 is Sally Hunt @176, which should come as no news to anyone.

I've also been thinking about Jim Macdonald's comment @341:

As we all know, there are heaven's own plenty of vanity and self-published books these days, and more every day, things which, if the author hustles his buns off, will sell 75 copies, mostly to the author himself.

Suppose some unscrupulous person got a bunch of them when they appeared ... and sat on them. Waiting.

Waiting until some future best-seller made megamillions. Then checking through the vanity-press books in his collection for one with a similarity, however tenuous, with some idea in that best seller.

I don't think it's necessary to hold on to physical copies. There'll be a searchable electronic trail from the period when the author was trying to market the book. They'll sell your confederate a copy of it after the similar-sounding bestseller comes out.
Then, the scammer would approach the author, or, better still, the author's heirs, with a story about how the Mega Seller was based on Uncle Toby's book and therefore the heirs are in line to get some fabulous amount of money if it can be proved in court.

But first, to bring the case, there's the matter of hiring a forensic literary expert. I know one who will work for a very reasonable fee. Pay it now, and you will be greatly rewarded! Good news! The forensic literary expert has produced a report that is very favorable to our case. But, it is necessary to hire a linguist to show the great similarities in language. Another fee, but very reasonable, considering how rich you'll soon be. Happy day! The linguist has reported that there are definite similarities in the language between Uncle Toby's book and the best seller! Now, a filing fee. Don't worry, just give it to me and I'll take care of it. Ah, what's this? The case must be moved to a higher court! That's another filing fee, but you have certainly come too far to turn back now! The lawyer is asking for a retainer, but no fear! When you win your case, which is a sure thing, you'll be able to pay yourself back out of the award!

The lawyer has requested that records be made of all the places Uncle Toby sold books. That will require the services of a private detective. No fear, though, for I know of a private detective, highly recommended, who is charges a very reasonable amount for his time.

I see this as an infinitely expandable 419 advance-fee scheme.

I see it as a variant of the classic Drake Inheritance scam.
Some unscrupulous person is probably buying copies of AuthorHouse and PublishAmerica books right now with that in mind.
The trouble with saying a thing like that last sentence is that its dazzling radiance will make it hard for those authors to see anything else.

#382 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 08:28 AM:

Sandy B @380:

You can put the trains on the shelf with the chess pieces, but I think I'll hang the ! reference on the mantlepiece where everyone can admire it.

Beer's in the bathtub, and I'm fairly sure there are some brownies left. Renatus has dibs on the chocolates in exchange for taking point so gracefully.

You can spot our recent guests arrivals* by the way their martyr's palms stick out above the assembled multitudes. And the nicely-ironed flounces.

-----
* guest law is hereby suspended. We fall back on our common charity and humanity, or, if it's more interesting, the laws of comedy.

#383 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 08:33 AM:

As someone not very many feet away from me remarked, the appropriate response to a post like #365 by "John Clarke" isn't to disemvowel or delete it; it's to leave it up, fully intact, for the ages. Whatever actual person wrote that will have to live with the accompanying shame.

Leaving aside all other questions entailed in the lawsuit under discussion, the fact that the defenders of the Jacobs estate are the kind of people who would try that kind of smear tells me pretty much everything I need to know.

#384 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 08:44 AM:

Amplifying what PNH says above:
the appropriate response to a post like #365 by "John Clarke" isn't to disemvowel or delete it

That's true in the context of Renatus @374. In another situation, I'd not have said that. I would not shame a troll at the expense of paining a regular.

#385 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 08:46 AM:

Abi @384: Quite right.

#386 ::: Renatus ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 08:47 AM:

abi @ 382: Chocolates? For me? My blushes! Also: omnomnom.

#387 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 08:53 AM:

Sandy B #380 You wait over there in the corner while I hustle up Master Sean and a couple of other, ahem, wizards for a game of saba.

#388 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 09:16 AM:

Teresa @ 375... you are too kindly optimistic

Now that's something I seldom hear myself called.
Oh, you mean that that post wasn't a spoof?
I need more sleep, or more caffeine.

#389 ::: kid bitzer ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 09:20 AM:

i'm now planning to end a lot of purple prose crescendos with:

"Because for that is what I am doing."

by gum, if that's not the most stirring cri de coeur i've heard since basil fawlty thrashed a car with a tree-branch, then i'll have to end this sentence a different way. Because for that is what I am doing.

indeed, in its orotund grandiosity, its declamatory incoherence, its choliambic grandeur, and its unedited seediness, it threatens to leave me fixed here in speechlessness, gaping. Because for that is what I am doing.

but instead i should leave, go, depart, escape, and pry up my congees. away! i flee! Because for that is what I am doing!

#390 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 09:21 AM:

I had some of the local fans come to our house back in November, during which event someone pointed out that the movie I, Robot really was a ripoff of Jack Williamson's Humanoids, and had said so to Williamson. The latter's response was that he didn't mind. After all, he came to SF when its traditions were built, and still are, by a dialogue between its writers.

#392 ::: rm ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 09:56 AM:

Serge at 390 is making sense. The movie I, Robot certainly didn't come from Asimov.

#393 ::: rm ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 10:26 AM:

Just followed Teresa's first link to the Drake inheritance scam, and I got a great idea for a story! I will now share my idea with you, and when one of the real writers here uses it, I will sue him/her for . . . one BILLION dollars!!

The story is, what if it were true that Sir Francis Drake's fortune was sitting in a vault waiting to be inherited? What if the Great Depression actually was caused somehow by its impending release, and not by the popping of the stock bubble? What if it were All A Big Conspiracy (no one has thought of that story before, or made money off of it, right?)? That would make a fun story, and if Sir Francis could come in as a character somewhere, that would be more fun.

In order to prepare for the legal work necessary to win my plagiarism suit against the author who writes this Danbrownish thriller, I will need to raise some cash. Early investors can be certain of getting at least 1000% return on their initial deposit of $5000, once I collect the BILLION dollars from the future billionaire plagiarist. Because for that is what I am doing.

#394 ::: twif ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 11:22 AM:

i was thinking about the absurdity of this case on my commute home yesterday. mostly wondering how responsible lazy reviewing and marketing is for the inspiration of suits like this. particularly for film adaptations. consider how something like this new percy jackson film is fraught with references to harry potter in the marketing and movie reviews. it's "just like harry potter!" except, you know, with greek mythology instead of wizards. so, completely different, except for the whole "kid discovering secret powers" thing. given the onslaught of media filled with statements like this, is it any wonder people might think that ideas can be plagarized? that, hey, uncle bob thought of that years ago and wrote a book that no one read, but it pre-dated this blockbuster; can we sue?

#395 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 11:26 AM:

rm @393 --

No, no, no, stock market crashes are not pleasantly escapist, they're real natural disasters from the point of view of most people.

What you have there -- given the approximate chronological-ish setting-like thing the movies are set in -- is a plot for Pirates of the Caribbean 4.

Someone wakes up Frankie Drake, from where he's sleeping there below; you can have water from the fountain of youth spilled overboard, you can do any number of even sillier things involving Spanish nobility being tourists in Devon, but the point is to make Captain Jack Sparrow, that pathetic excuse for a pirate (though a splendid example of a con man) try to get the Golden Hind's golden ballast away from that nonpareil ruthless freebooter Francis Drake.

It would almost *have* to be amusing.

#396 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 11:43 AM:

Graydon, I'm glad I wasn't drinking anything when I read #395 -- I adore PotC and broke down laughing at the potential plot for the fourth movie. (My co-workers are probably wondering what I'm laughing about...)

I've read that the next one will involve Blackbeard, but I think I'd prefer Sir Francis!

#397 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 11:49 AM:

Lori Coulson @396 --

Thank you, Lori.

I'll admit I mostly want the logistics -- "Gold is heavy, mate" -- of trying to move tons of gold bullion, plus Robert Downey Jr. playing Francis Drake across from Johnny Depp's Jack Sparrow.

Oh, and a nuanced take on bringing involute cunning to a ruthlessness contest.

#398 ::: Kelly McCullough ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 11:57 AM:

Lori @ 396, the Blackbeard plot is theoretically at least partly based on Tim Powers' On Stranger Tides* which, if it's even moderately close to the original, would make it totally made of awesome.

*Formally optioned and everything.

#399 ::: Rose ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 12:11 PM:

In an excellent demonstration of the difference between idea and execution, Joel Stickley writes badly well by keeping half an eye on the market.

#400 ::: Micah ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 12:46 PM:

Paul Duncanson @378: he should be ashamed and then deported.

Dear God! And inflict him on where?

#401 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 01:12 PM:

I couldn't help but notice that Markson Sparks, the soi-disant "Mr. Fame," features the photos of four individuals at the top of his web page: Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Nelson Mandela, and George H. W. Bush.

I trust that no one will blame me for suspecting that perhaps those gentlemen aren't actually his clients?

#402 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 01:15 PM:

So -- who was that last John Clarke @ 365? "View all by" shows it's a unique posting; the first paragraph is so obviously a Goon Show reference that it hurts; and the rest feels very like a set of references that I don't know. Grammar is incredibly present in Finnegans Wake (and I'm surprised to see the typo in the title that JC committed there, unless it's intentional) -- it's part of the playing. This doesn't feel like the work of someone who is clueless. Could it be --- Cesar Ignacio Ramos? (Foul, no jokes the audience doesn't understand.) Seriously, this one *feels* different. It's much more clueful.

#403 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 01:34 PM:

Micah #400: The traditional destination of people deemed unsuitable even for Oz is this place, for which even Norwegian Blue parrots might pine, though it lacks fjords.

#404 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 01:36 PM:

Pirates are so last decade. A more traditional method of introducing Sir Francis Drake into a contemporary setting would be for him to have become an immortal vampire. That would be classic literature!

#405 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 01:39 PM:

Now I want to watch "Blackbeard's Ghost" again.

#406 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 01:46 PM:

Heather @404 I'd have thought 'zombie', just for the trendiness. There'd be a West Indies tie-in, too. He could paw mindlessly through gold doubloon chests on the crumbling deck of the Voodoo Hind, muttering, "Braaainss? Where brainsss?" which is how I feel about coffee, so there'd be a point of sympathy right there.

You don't often see that in zombie characters, you know.

#407 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 01:51 PM:

Fragano @403 -- time for a few choruses of The Kipper Family's "Norfolk and Good"?

#408 ::: Carrie V. ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 02:04 PM:

I read Teresa's post on Saturday morning.

Then I went away for the rest of the weekend.

Today I checked the site and thought, "Holy cow, how did this get up to 400 comments?"

Then I looked and found out.

Then I fell out of my chair.

#409 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 02:06 PM:

Tom Whitmore #407: Did they do a follow-up entitled "Suffolk and What"?

#410 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 02:24 PM:

#380:

There is also Frederik Pohl's poem:

http://www.thewaythefutureblogs.com/2009/03/verse-decoded/

#411 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 03:12 PM:

I expect that, as soon as Clark Savage Jr is back from the Fortress of Solitude, he'll file a lawsuit against Clark Kent when the latter comes back from his Fortress of Solitude.

#412 ::: James ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 03:37 PM:

Heather@404:

There is an even simpler way to get Francis Drake as an immortal; IIRC in one variant of the tradition he is the leader of the Wild Hunt.

#413 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 03:50 PM:

Xopher@350, I would hope that vanity-published books are in the country-appropriate Official Deposit Libraries. After all, if you're trying to tell one of your customers "See, now you're a Real Published Author!", showing them that there's a copy in The Permanent Record is part of the deal, along with giving them a bunch of copies for them to give their mom as a present. They're paying you for warm fuzzies, you gotta give'em the warm fuzzies and let them pull them down over their own eyes.

#414 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 04:04 PM:

# 413: ...along with giving them a bunch of copies for them to give their mom as a present.

Giving? What's this "giving"? You mean "selling."

#415 ::: Theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 04:07 PM:

Has no one read John Brunner's The Squares of the City? It was nominated for a Hugo in 1965. Talk about chess with live chessmen...

#416 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 04:33 PM:

#404, and others above. I didn't realize that Francis Drake discovered Nigeria, too. Obviously, the generic 419 is really a Drake. Just ducky.

#417 ::: David Dyer-Bennet ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 04:52 PM:

Theophylact@415: Ah, good thought. I've read that (I believe it's an SFBC edition, on my shelves at home). I think of it more as metaphor than as live-action, personally.

There's a nice bit of live-action chess (with monkeys riding on dogs for the knights) in the 1973 The Three Musketeers, too.

#418 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 05:07 PM:

James @412

But ... but ... now we're getting into "this sounds like a really good story premise" territory rather than "how awful a premise can we come up with" territory. I'm starting to want to read the book!

#419 ::: Shan ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 05:11 PM:

Jim Macdonald @341: Couldn't you, in fact, patent that as a business plan and then sue anyone who does something like it without licensing it from you? Then you wouldn't have to find storage for those terrible manuscripts!

#420 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 05:11 PM:

Henry Troup @ 416... Which Drake? John? Paul? Ludwig?

#421 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 05:26 PM:

Lori Coulson @ #396, there were three or four news stories here a week ago when The Black Pearl arrived in Honolulu. Filming to begin this summer on PotC 4, apparently.

#422 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 05:35 PM:

Fragano Ledgister at 376 writes:

> Is John Clarke @365 a laundered identity?

There is a wonderful New Zealand born, Australian resident comedian and called John Clarke, but I fear his identity is being soiled, not laundered by this coincidence of names.

(you might enjoy him - he does some wicked poetry parodies)

#423 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 05:37 PM:

Oops - excuse the errant 'and' in that sentence.

Of course noticing that sort of thing is what the preview is for, isn't it?

#424 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 05:47 PM:

rm @ 393: The story is, what if it were true that Sir Francis Drake's fortune was sitting in a vault waiting to be inherited? What if the Great Depression actually was caused somehow by its impending release, and not by the popping of the stock bubble?

Wait a minute - didn't Adrian Jacobs lose his money in... a stock market crash? [DUH-DUH-DA-DUH!] What a sinister coincidence - or is it?

Perhaps the Adrian Jacobs heirs should instead be suing the real architects of their misfortune, the evil conspiracy of Drake heirs.

#425 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 05:53 PM:

Steve Taylor #423: Of course noticing that sort of thing is what the preview is for, isn't it?

The preview is for your subconscious to notice it; it takes actually hitting the "post" button for you to become consciously aware of your error.

#426 ::: HelenS ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 06:15 PM:

Which Drake? John? Paul? Ludwig?

Ringo, of course. (Ba-doom-shh.)

#427 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 06:35 PM:

Fragano (I hope you don't mind the familiarity) @387, not that I know of, and that's the joke they meant.

#428 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 06:37 PM:

Jim @ #414 Shhh! They'll hear you!...

#429 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 07:12 PM:

So if we've had vampires, zombies and pirates, does that mean the next big thing will be ninjas again?
*Gets scribbling*


Theophylact #415 - yes, I read "the squares of the city" a few years ago, and you are correct.

#430 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 07:49 PM:

heresiarch, #356, I hated the idea that names are male unless you put something frilly on it and then it could be female. More male default.

Linkmeister, #360, yes, that's him. I've bought all his books, so don't have to worry about the library.

#431 ::: rm ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 07:58 PM:

Heather at 418: I'm starting to want to read the book!

My plan is coming together nicely. Which one of you will become the billionaire? Bwa-ha-ha-ha! . . . I need to hire some lawyers.

Guthrie at 439: Why not zombie vampire pirate ninjas?

Maybe Drake acquired some magical powers from some group he encountered -- from the escaped slaves he allied with, or from some aboriginal group he stole from -- and became immortal, and has been Secretly Controlling The Course of History.

Clifton at 424, Adrian Jacob's heirs have more enemies than he knew -- but careful how you talk. You don't want to get on the Admiral's bad side. Let's talk more via the W.A.S.D.E. post (We Await Silent Drake's Empire).

#432 ::: rm ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 07:59 PM:

Heather at 418: I'm starting to want to read the book!

My plan is coming together nicely. Which one of you will become the billionaire? Bwa-ha-ha-ha! . . . I need to hire some lawyers.

Guthrie at 439: Why not zombie vampire pirate ninjas?

Maybe Drake acquired some magical powers from some group he encountered -- from the escaped slaves he allied with, or from some aboriginal group he stole from -- and became immortal, and has been Secretly Controlling The Course of History.

Clifton at 424, Adrian Jacob's heirs have more enemies than he knew -- but careful how you talk. You don't want to get on the Admiral's bad side. Let's talk more via the W.A.S.D.E. post (We Await Silent Drake's Empire).

#433 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 08:36 PM:

I was a teenage zombie werewolf vampire pirate ninja for the FBI and found god.

#434 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 08:59 PM:

What a pleasant thread this is turning out to be...

#435 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 09:02 PM:

erik,

I was a teenage zombie werewolf vampire pirate ninja for the FBI and found god

you forgot the monkeys.

#436 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 09:14 PM:

So after the teenaged ninja turns pirate, (s)he gets attacked by zombie(s), werewolf/ves, and vampire(s). (separately or together?) Gets rescued/arrested and recruited by the FBI, and then goes looking for some Answers....

#437 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 09:32 PM:

rm #431: My plan is coming together nicely. Which one of you will become the billionaire?

I would like to be a billionaire. My philanthropy would shake the earth like a taiko drum solo of meteor strikes.

#438 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 09:36 PM:

Steve Taylor @ 422: Yes, but since I pointed that out at back @378 you have violated my copyright and I now have to sue you for a million billion dollars.

#439 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 09:37 PM:

Graydon @395, are you aware that Tim Powers's book On Stranger Tides (which deals with the fountain of youth, sorta) has been optioned for the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean movie, planned for 2011 release? (Wait, I see a couple other people have mentioned it. I should've checked the thread earlier.)

Further news: They're talking to Ian McShane about playing Blackbeard.

#440 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 10:06 PM:

Paul Duncanson @438 writes:

> Steve Taylor @ 422: Yes, but since I pointed that out at back @378 you have violated my copyright and I now have to sue you for a million billion dollars.

But - but - but - I *thought* of it first!

I am confident that in this dispute the lurkers will support me in email.

#441 ::: WHITERABBITGRINS ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 10:19 PM:

Very astute summation. I'm impressed -- you should be a lawyer, or at least, a consultant. Here is my take:
THESE PEOPLE ARE JUST GREEDY FOR MONEY. If you create a wizard world, it stands to reason there is going to be a wizard hospital, a wizarding school...do these lawyers understand what PLAGIARISM is? It's not theft to have ideas that are a commonality to a story; plagiarism's lifting word by word, chapter by chapter, concepts and ideas unique to another story and creating one that is no substantially or substantively different.Following the flawed logic here, the lawyers for Enid Blyton's estate might well sue Adrian Jacobs. And then why don't the lawyers for the estate of the author of AGAINST NATURE sue Thomas Harris for Hannibal...talking about erudite Cannibals. Then let Georgette Heyer's lawyers sue Barbara Cartland re. concept of Victorian females in distress rescued by intrepid deeds and love. Why stop there? Jane Austen's estate could sue Barbara Cartland's estate... These lawyers are making a target of Rowling because of greed and should be stopped, or no one will want to write ! Let the Bible sue William Shakespeare's estate for concepts found there...and so on...

#442 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 10:19 PM:

Steve @ 440: If you have any money left when my lawyers are done with you, put it in an envelope and send it to Jo Walton.

#443 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 10:46 PM:

David Harmon @ #436, if a person gets simultaneously bitten by a werewolf, a vampire and a zombie, which does he/she turn into?

Does it matter if the werewolf is rabid?

#444 ::: Gesso ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 10:54 PM:

Paul @ 371: Substituted walnut oil for the butter, and tossed some Blooker Cacao in with the flour. Absolutely delicious!

This is why I love Making Light. For every instance of trollery, there's an outpouring of wit and poetry to admire, and occasional recipes to nab.

#445 ::: Leslie in CA ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 10:54 PM:

Lila @ 443: A werevambie? If the werewolf is rabid, then naturally the werevambie foams at the mouth while biting its victims, who rise from the dead -- piece by furry, shambling, sharp-toothed piece -- at the next full moon.

#446 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 11:04 PM:

I am confident that in this dispute the lurkers will support me in email.

Ah, I see you are familiar with all internet traditions.

#447 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 11:07 PM:

David Harmon @ 436: Of course, it's important not to overdo it.

#448 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 11:32 PM:

In re 365, to me the real distinction is not that Mr. Clarke is Bluebottle in this post, but that in earlier posts he had more appeared to be Major Bloodnok:

"Do you know that you are dealing with, um, well, my uncle is a constable and my sister is a lady wrestler!"

#449 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 11:34 PM:

Gesso @ 444: I can take no credit for the recipe. I was in a hurry and just used the first reasonable sounding nutbar recipe Google turned up.

#450 ::: RiceVermicelli ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2010, 11:55 PM:

Whiterabbitgrins @ 441 - Neither Georgette Heyer nor Jane Austen wrote anything set in the Victorian period (I'm certain of Austen, it's possible that Heyer snuck one by me, but I doubt it). In any case, Barbara Cartland is safe against claims from their estates because of the scarcity of actual peril in Heyer and Austen. The most dangerous crisis that can befall an Austen heroine is the common cold. Secondary characters may elope or suffer cranial traumas. In Heyer, physical peril is not good ton, illness is common, but never dangerous, and the resolution of the heroine's trouble is usually the moment when she finally steels herself to have a conversation with her husband. (If he's not her husband by that time, he will be soon.)

I can imagine the Heyer estate lurking, waiting to slap a lawsuit on the first person who writes a best-selling self-help book that advises that people talk to each other and figure their shit out.

#451 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 12:05 AM:

Xopher @446 writes:

> Ah, I see you are familiar with all internet traditions.

Only the hallowed (J.K. Rowling stole that word from me) ones. What these crazy kids get up to with their TwitterBook and FaceSpace we'll never know.

#452 ::: rm ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 12:57 AM:

As you know, Sir Francis, during our pirate expedition we were bitten by vampires.

As vampire pirates, we were rather easy to defeat during the daytime. You and your men boarded our ship and put belaying pins through our hearts.

But we drifted near the village of a houngan who had gone bad, and he brought us back as zombies . . . who were still vampires.

We have had a lot of time to learn many skills in the long years since. We spent a century in an isolated mountain monastery in China training as zombie vampire pirate ninjas.

Some of us are also VZP quilters, VZP pastry chefs, VZP marine biologists, and so on. Our crew includes a burly ex-Royal Marine Commando, a hip computer hacker, a nerdy forensic scientist, a girl who wears her jeans really low on her hips, and a really, really strong dude with some kind of ethnic accent . . . vampire zombie pirate ninja.

We very much appreciate your offer to join Her Virginal Majesty's Very, Very Secret Service. Unfortunately, we have already been recruited to some kind of American spy program which we don't fully understand, but we've already had the brain surgery. Er, I mean: braaaaain surgery.

Nice to see you again, though. Now, we expect you to die.

#453 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 01:06 AM:

452
Hoo boy! Now that's a story!

#454 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 01:23 AM:

RiceVermicelli, #450: I can think of a number of Heyer books in which the heroine is in physical peril -- we know everything will turn out all right, but she doesn't. in The Black Moth and These Old Shades, the heroine is kidnapped; in Devil's Cub she is in genuine danger of being raped (by the hero, no less!) until she puts a bullet through him. The Grand Sophy takes a real physical risk in going to confront a usurer, even though she does take the precaution of going armed. The Reluctant Widow is used (much against her will, which is why I don't like the book) as bait for a spy who has already killed at least one person. The Masqueraders are fugitives with a price on their heads, and Prudence (in her man's guise) has to escape when she is falsely arrested on suspicion of murder.

Admittedly, there are more Heyer stories that don't involve such risks for the heroine, but it's far from unknown.

#455 ::: EClaire ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 02:03 AM:

#450 - I really want to read that self-help book, but I doubt it will ever be written. Sadly.

#456 ::: alex ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 03:49 AM:

@449 "...first reasonable sounding nutbar recipe"; all this time we took it for kindness, and it was just snark all along...

#457 ::: VCarlson ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 04:04 AM:

Alex @456: You mean you didn't rot13 the final line of the recipe?

#458 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 06:05 AM:

Steve Taylor #422: He sounds like someone I'd enjoy.

#459 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 06:10 AM:

Tom Whitmore #427: I hope they had a lot of Sussex with it.

#460 ::: Simon Bradshaw ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 06:52 AM:

Xopher @345;

(Sorry, didn't see your comment until now)

Actually, it might be possible to ask for such a claim to be struck out, if the purported factual basis is clearly ridiculous.

In essence, any tort claim boils down to the claimant saying to the defendant:

1) You did X to me.
2) Doing X to me gives me a cause of action.

(1) is evidence, (2) is law. It's easiest to strike out a claim by showing that (2) isn't true, because if you have no basis to sue me then it doesn't matter what the facts of the matter are. However, if (1) is utterly ridiculous then you might be able to persuade the court that it would be a waste of time to even entertain the claim. But the claim has to be pretty far out for this to happen; after all, a judge can assess fairly easily if a legal cause of action exists, but unless the purported facts are self-evidently preposterous then it's harder to dismiss them out of hand.

#461 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 07:02 AM:

Alex @ 456: It was snark, it was kindness.
It was a bitter insult, it was nut-filled sweetness.
It was the best of posts, it was the worst of posts.
It was something for everyone, it was whatever you made of it... and I intend to make a batch of it this weekend.

#462 ::: alex ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 07:07 AM:

I have a cold, I couldn't rot13 my own name.

#463 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 07:38 AM:

You talk about snarking, well snarking's all right
I snarked in this thread twenty times just last night
And each time I snarked here I snarked 'bout this tort
If you don't think that's snarking you snarking well ort.

==========

I had werewolves and vampires in my second Bad Blood novel (Hunters' Moon). Which was published in 1994, a solid twelve years before Stephenie Meyer published New Moon.

Watch out, Stephenie Meyer! I'm going to sue you for a trillion dollars. Maybe a billion-trillion. A kazillion! I don't know. No one could have thought of putting vampires and werewolves in the same book unless they got the idea from me! I deserve it because your book sold better than mine. And this forensic paleographer over here agrees with me that it's too good to be true!

(Y'see, Frank Persol #244, it can happen to anyone. This is what has made me bitter and twisted and totally in Mr. Fame's corner supporting this lawsuit by Mr. Jacobs' heirs. Hey, maybe they can join me in my suit against Meyers! After all, she named one of her characters "Jacob," and if that isn't an admission that she took her ideas from Willie The Wizard I don't know what is.)

(Never mind that the film House of Dracula (1945) that had a werewolf and a vampire in it. Not relevant! Because in House of Dracula, the creature wasn't called a werewolf, it was called a wolf-man! Entirely different!)

#464 ::: Jeffrey Smith ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 07:52 AM:

Jim @ 463: Now you're dragging that poor girl who thinks The Wolfman ripped off Stephenie Meyer into this.

#465 ::: Chris D ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 07:56 AM:

@452 I don't know, I still think there's something missing, just to give it a little more spice you know. How about sharks with laser beams on? Yeah, that oughtta do it.

It also occurs to me that this is the first thread I've posted and i haven't said Hi to anyone yet.

Hi

#466 ::: tykewriter ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 09:18 AM:

Chris D @465:

How about dinosaurs sodomising otters while jumping the shark with a laser beam? And make them all gay zombie were-vampires, with a side-order of extra-terrestrial slime.

Oh and hi.

#467 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 09:31 AM:

Avram @439 --

Yep, did know that. Am expecting it to be closer to the unfortunate analogy of watching one's ox be converted into bullion cubes than not, but perhaps we shall all be luckier than that this time around.


Needs something else?

Well, you know, Jack *is* a pirate. And, despite having been a rather more effective pirate, Francis Drake is also, if you squint right, just at the beginning of the recognizable Royal Navy of wooden ships and iron men. So maybe they're *all* showing up, every one of them that were buried at sea, a trickle from the older times and then a flood, because Jack Sparrow has gone and messed with something as he ought not to have messed with, the silly git, and the Immemorial Traditions of the Service, are, in person, rising out of the sea to explain to him the errors of his ways.

If you want deeply creepy you could do something with immortal common sailors, mechanism of immortality being having drunk Nelson's blood after Trafalgar (Nelson's body was placed into a water tight coffin and preserved with rum; the crew drilled a hole in the coffin and drank the rum. We can postulate almost anything we like about what kind of supernatural creature Nelson was...) and now they're vampires, all right, but for rum, not blood. Jack Sparrow would deal *so well* with rum vampires, it does not bear thinking upon.

#468 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 09:31 AM:

I have some thoughts on the issue of zombie/vampire/werewolf precedence. They can all have a reasonable expectation of immunity to each others conversion abilities, except under certain limited conditions: a significant leader of one category could convert a lesser member of another category, and a progenitor (of which there is only one per category) could convert any member of another category and allow or block aspects of the subject's former category. If you have all three progenitors bickering over the same subject, you could end up with a creature with aspects of all three types, dominated by whichever progenitor had converted him most recently.

At least, that's how I'd do it in gaming situations.

#469 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 09:35 AM:

We're being too generous to this frivolous lawsuit, here.

Based on the excerpt shown at http://willythewizard.com/wizard-chess.html, the "wizard chess" that appeared in Willie the Wizard was perfectly ordinary chess, only played by wizards. Assuming that it was animated chess where the pieces destroyed one another... is granting far more similarity than actually existed.

I've looked at the other excerpts. Assuming that they are best evidence, the entire thing is tenuous at best. For example, under their entry for "snake tongue communication,", it's clear that what's being described is a mechanical communication device that uses a physical part of a snake's tongue in its construction, nothing similar to Rowling's, which is speaking in and understanding the language of snakes. Unless Mr. Jacobs' heirs are claiming copyright on the word "snake" this isn't a similarity in any way.

Mr. Jacobs' literary executor (how did Mr. Fame get mixed up in this?) is also apparently claiming that the idea of using a bird as a messenger is original with Willie the Wizard.

There's a very strong "Oh, come on!" factor with all of the examples given. I really wonder where they found that "forensic literary expert."

(You'll love the example described as "Strange Eye Wizard." The "Strange Eye Wizard" (described thus on the web page, not in the original work) has a single eye in the center of his forehead. Where have I heard of that before?)

#470 ::: becca ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 09:42 AM:

@441

Then let Georgette Heyer's lawyers sue Barbara Cartland

actually, there's a Barbara Cartland book that's virtually scene-for-scene from These Old Shades, except the girl is Aime/Aimee rather than Leon/Leonie. That was my first and last Cartland.

#471 ::: Kelly McCullough ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 09:51 AM:

Jim @ 469, For realz? Is there a word for a category of lawsuits that's an order of magnitude more ludicrous than frivolous? Because if that's the basis of complaint, it's a hell of a lot less reasonable than merely frivolous. Perhaps a ridiculific* lawsuit?

*Feeble, I know, but I shall simply plead not-yet-awake, and throw myself on the mercy of the jury of word coinage. I figure that if one is going to go for special pleading, this is the thread to do it in.**

**See evidence entered into the record by proponents of said ridiculific lawsuit.

#472 ::: Kelly McCullough ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 09:57 AM:

Oh, and for reasons unclear to my morning addled forebrain, I've now got Homer-pigeons* stuck in my head.

*They'll take quite a long message but it has to be set in verse, and they much prefer that it be phrased in ancient Greek. Perhaps I shall have to write a story that features them.

#473 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 10:09 AM:

Kelly @ 451, if anything were ever to deserve the term "ridiculific", this book's author's family's lawsuit would have to be it.

Jim @ 449 - yeah. 'Sall I've got to say: yeah.

Graydon @ 467 - Rum vampires and Jack Sparrow - good Lord, he'd have to sober up to survive, and wouldn't that make him a very different pirate? And probably a frighteningly effective one, too.

#474 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 10:11 AM:

I seem to have an off-by-20 error in the first two of my references in 453, I mean 493, above. How'd that happen?

#475 ::: Emma ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 10:15 AM:

I'm very late to this party and someone may have pointed to it already but up in the 300s Xopher and John Mark Ockerbloom discuss Willy the Wizard in UK catalogs. I got curious so I went to Wordcat and this is what I found:

1. Willy the wizard by Anthony Browne, published by Knopf/Random House in 1995 re-released in 1998.

2. Willy the Wizard by Cricket Rothman and Doug Keith, published by Outside the Box in 1996 (this seems to be part of something called Ray's Readers)

3. Translations of the Anthony Browne book in Chinese and French

4. The Living Land by Adrian Jacobs, published by Bachman & Tuerner in 1987. As reported by Mr. Ockerbloom. It's what we technically call a short bib; when I went to look for it in the technical side of WorldCat (the OCLC cataloging database) I could not find it? (curious and may continue the search; problem is no OCLC# no ISBN as far as I could tell and a title search yielded either too many entries or none)

Is it common for publishers not to look for exact same titles? Because I would think Random House would have looked? Or maybe since alliteration is considered "cute" in juvelines, "Willy the Wizard" is a given?

#476 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 10:15 AM:

Kelly #471:

I kid you not. (Note: line stolen from The Caine Mutiny.)

Graydon #467:

Watch out for those "rum vampires" lest someone who self-published a novel in 1953 (12 sold to friends, fifty sent to agents, the other 4,938 still in his attic) will leap to his feet to say that you stole the idea from the line in his book, "Aye, I remember old Toby, a rum vampire he was, always stumpin' about the village lookin' for maidens, aye, that he was."

(And that is why the hypothetical scammers I proposed need the full text, not just the cover blurb, to find their m/a/r/k/s/ aggrieved heirs.)

#477 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 10:17 AM:

Jim McDonald @ 469... Assuming that it was animated chess where the pieces destroyed one another...

I think the people who produced FutureWorld should sue George Lucas.
On the other hand...

Let the Wookiee win.

#478 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 10:21 AM:

Kelly McCullough @ 472... Go ahead and write that story, but be aware that Matt Groening might sue you.

#479 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 10:23 AM:

Two words: Idea Vampire. A writer discovers a way to suck the ideas out of other writers and then becomes a best-selling novelist.

Uh, wait - what was I saying? Fuuny, but I just had an idea, but damned if I know where it went....

#480 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 10:29 AM:

Kelly, #471: I rather like "ridiculific", if only for its ability to be decoded as "ridiculous fanfic", which is exactly what this lawsuit is.

#481 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 10:30 AM:

Linkmeister @421: Thanks! I knew that filming was going to begin this year, really neat to see the Pearl under sail. And her home port (when not filming) is the Bahamas...hmm, add that to the list of places I want to see.

As for Sir Francis Drake -- there's another way to immortality...there can be only one...

(And RUM vampires -- I'm going to be giggling the rest of the day.)

#482 ::: alex ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 10:32 AM:

Two more words: Dan Brown [which gets us into the wacky world of being sued for taking things from a book allegedly published as non-fiction and reproducing them in an "it's-all-true-really, no Daniel Defoe never tried this verisimilitude thing" work of fiction]. Ho-hum for the majesty of the Laws of England...

#483 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 10:36 AM:

HelenS @ 426... Ba-da-bing!

#484 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 10:51 AM:

I'd like to see Sir Wilfred Robarts chew away at this case; it would, at least, make an entertaining potential mashup.

#485 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 11:41 AM:

I, for one, would like to see the rum vampires tried by rumhead court-martial.

#486 ::: HelenS ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 11:43 AM:

Should "rum vampires" be called "rumpires" for short? And do they ever take a turn in Oxford? Because then we could have a scene with the dreaming rumpires amid the dreaming spires (May Day morning, perhaps, on top of the tower?).

#487 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 11:47 AM:

Fragano Ledgister @ #458, and anybody else interested in the real John Clarke:

Radio National's "Poetica" program did an interview with him a while back about his collection of poetic parodies, with him reading some of them. It is still available online:
http://www.abc.net.au/rn/poetica/features/pod/poets/clarke.htm

#488 ::: kid bitzer ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 11:53 AM:

#486--

no, no, it should be set at the central criminal court in london: rumpire of the bailey.

#489 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 11:59 AM:

Graydon -- with visions of rum vampires dancing in my head, it gives a whole new perspective on:

"Why is all the rum gone?!"

#490 ::: twif ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 12:05 PM:

"Mr. Jacobs' literary executor (how did Mr. Fame get mixed up in this?) is also apparently claiming that the idea of using a bird as a messenger is original with Willie the Wizard."

WTF? messenger pigeons anyone?

also, i am shocked, shocked! to see the idea of vampire zombie ninja pirates progress this far in a thread without anyone turning them into cyborg vampire zombie ninja pirates. i expect more from you people.

#491 ::: Pete ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 12:13 PM:

Cat @58.

Fair enough - I didn't actually know the Lexicon lifted most of the text.

#492 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 12:16 PM:

Lori Coulson @489 -

That would certainly make a good plot hook. :)

Some of the more comedic actors associated with the franchise could get some considerable mileage out of a starving rum vampire desperately trying to open a fermented coconut, too.

#493 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 12:30 PM:

Ok, I've resisted, because there's barely any more room in this fight for another item of baked goods, but, WRT to Macdonald @469:
Mr. Jacobs' literary executor (how did Mr. Fame get mixed up in this?) is also apparently claiming that the idea of using a bird as a messenger is original with Willie the Wizard.

I rather imagine the spirit of Cher Ami, to say nothing of all the other pigeons who have delivered signal service over the years ought to be be homing in on the Antipodes about now, in sheer indignation at having their efforts so cavalierly dismissed. Never mind precedents in fiction--taking advantage of the hard work of our feathered friends in such a way should shock anumal lovers everywhere. Will no one file a brief on their behalf in this case? Are there no pigeon fanciers out there ready to stand forth in their defense?

Oh, and for those of you who are troubled by slow data transmission problems, the homing pigeons of the world are ready to lend a wing.

#494 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 12:40 PM:

Lori Coulson #489: with visions of rum vampires dancing in my head, it gives a whole new perspective on: "Why is all the rum gone?!"

Where have all the vampires gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the vampires gone?
Long time ago
Where have all the vampires gone?
Slayers staked them every one
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?

Where have all the Slayers gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the Slayers gone?
Long time ago
Where have all the Slayers gone?
Chomped by werewolves every one
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?

Where have all the werewolves gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the werewolves gone?
Long time ago
Where have all the werewolves gone?
Munched by zombies every one
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?

Where have all the zombies gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the zombies gone?
Long time ago
Where have all the zombies gone?
Killed by pirates every one
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?

Where have all the pirates gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the pirates gone?
Long time ago
Where have all the pirates gone?
Turned to rum-vamps every one
When will we ever learn?
When will we ever learn?

#495 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 12:42 PM:

Steve C. @479, Idea Vampire -- sounds familiar.....

And instead of sodomizing dinosaurs, maybe we could have dragons. They're cool, and no one's thought of them yet. I have a great name - Paragon!

And cats. Why doesn't this story have cats??? RUMpleteazer definitely belongs on a pirate ship

#496 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 01:12 PM:

the idea of using a bird as a messenger is original with Willie the Wizard.

Um, no.

"After forty days Noah opened the window he had made in the ark and sent out a raven, and it kept flying back and forth until the water had dried up from the earth. Then he sent out a dove to see if the water had receded from the surface of the ground. But the dove could find no place to set its feet because there was water over all the surface of the earth; so it returned to Noah in the ark. He reached out his hand and took the dove and brought it back to himself in the ark. He waited seven more days and again sent out the dove from the ark. When the dove returned to him in the evening, there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf! Then Noah knew that the water had receded from the earth. He waited seven more days and sent the dove out again, but this time it did not return to him." Genesis 8:6

A case could be made that neither the raven nor the dove is carrying a message in the way that the mail carrier carries the mail, and that anyway the claim is solely to birds as messengers in fantasy stories and or novels, and not to any other messengers. To which I respond: Tolkien! And also: hogwash!

#497 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 01:18 PM:

Debbie @ #495 -

Love it!

#498 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 01:35 PM:

Earl Cooley #494 - the pirates got killed by ninjas, as everyone knows there was a great rivalry and bitter hatred between them. Some of the more recent fights can be found here:
http://drmcninja.com/archives/comic/2p1

#499 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 01:35 PM:

Earl Cooley #494 - the pirates got killed by ninjas, as everyone knows there was a great rivalry and bitter hatred between them. Some of the more recent fights can be found here:
http://drmcninja.com/archives/comic/2p1

#500 ::: Lisa Spangenberg ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 01:49 PM:

#469 @Jim Macdonald

As you know Bob, bird-as-messenger is used in the second branch of the Mabinogi, and in Marie De France's lais, among other places. I would be tempted, were I consulted, to argue for the dove in the Noah's Ark episode as an example of this motif. It is a motif which is lengthily explored in Stith-Thompson.

#501 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 01:56 PM:

kid bitzer @ #488, I made exactly the same jump, but you beat me to it. Well done.

#502 ::: Mags ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 02:00 PM:

#454 Lee: Oh, I'd *like* to see the Ethnic Stereotype that could get the drop on Miss Stanton-Lacy. (which character was IMO rather boldly copied in many particulars in a recent Jane Austen pastiche, much to my annoyance--and she was supposed to be Charlotte Lucas' daughter, if you can believe that)

#467 Graydon: Aren't Royal Navy sailors rum vampires by definition?

#470 becca: Joan Aiken Hodge's biography of Heyer mentions that there was another well-known author of (inferior) romantic novels who plagiarized Heyer, but didn't say whom. I always wondered if it was Barbara Cartland. I can't remember if Heyer actually sued or not; I think they just went quietly to the publisher. I don't have the book at hand to check.

#503 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 02:16 PM:

guthrie #498: the pirates got killed by ninjas, as everyone knows there was a great rivalry and bitter hatred between them.

It's quite possible after that the ninjas were the ones who were transformed into rum-vamps, but they're so adept at epic stealth that their verse appears to be missing from the song (which is a cycle, as the last verse links to the first).

#504 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 02:16 PM:

Earl Cooley III (494): Wonderful!

#505 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 02:33 PM:

Q. You are alone on a desert island where the sole vegetation is one single palm tree. Where do you hide?

A. Behind the ninja.

Pray recall that Adrian Jacobs, himself, has nothing to do with this lawsuit and may well have been horrified by the thought had he lived and someone tried to file it on his behalf.

#506 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 02:43 PM:

Mags @502 --

There is a certain fondness for rum, a delight in rum, a wide and consuming joy in rum, a real and compelling need for rum, a desperate and scrambling craving for rum, and then there is the condition of rum vampirism, which, due to having begun with an act of phlebotomic cannibalism of the mortal remains an heroic senior officer, cannot be described in any terms associated with the impulses and mechanisms of drunkenness; it is a punishment, meant by an affronted deity or a disgusted devil to attach miserable necessity to a condition that precludes joy and forgetting.

Were that not enough, to leech all the possibly of joy and goodness or even to get drunk from drink out of grog or good fellowship, there is the other, darker, seldom discussed aspect to the grim and miserable lot of the rum vampire.

It brings on accountancy.

#507 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 02:53 PM:

It brings on accountancy.

...from all that totting up?

#508 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 02:55 PM:

Do rum vampires have a bier?

#509 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 03:02 PM:

Do rum vampires sit around chanting REDRUM! REDRUM?

#510 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 03:44 PM:

Do rum vampires whine a lot?

#511 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 04:34 PM:

Helen@486, if the action takes place in the space behind near those towers, is that Rumpire of the Bailey?

Also, Spider Robinson did at least one story including a vampire who obtained his drinks by drying out Callahan's patrons...

#512 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 04:40 PM:

Me@511 - Ack, sorry, missed that someone else got that first.

#513 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 04:44 PM:

Since tykewriter@466 brought up the dinosaurs and sodomy, Fox News reports http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2010/02/14/tyrannosaurus-sex/?test=faces that the Discovery Channel had a show on dinosaurs and sex recently - Boomdeyada!

#514 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 04:49 PM:

alex @462:
I have a cold, I couldn't rot13 my own name.

In case it becomes necessary: nyrk

#515 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 04:51 PM:

Paul A. @487 writes:

> Fragano Ledgister @ #458, and anybody else interested in the real John Clarke:

>Radio National's "Poetica" program did an interview with him a while back about his collection of poetic parodies, with him reading some of them. It is still available online:
http://www.abc.net.au/rn/poetica/features/pod/poets/clarke.htm

Damn good show too - probably the only show of Poetica I've ever enjoyed (ABC radio is a cultural treasure, but I have a severe allergy to the sound of their book and poetry readings - 'wet' doesn't begin to cover it - but I digress.).

I was looking around for something to point Fragano to last night and found that Clarke has both text and audio of some of the poems on his website - but none of my favourites :( I wish he had the 'Man from Snowy River' one up one the web.

["It was kipling at the station and the word had got around..."]

Anyway, more at:

http://mrjohnclarke.com/poetry.shtml
http://mrjohnclarke.com/poetry-poems-01.shtml

#516 ::: HelenS ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 04:52 PM:

Graydon@506, well done! Worthy of Avram Davidson at his best.

"I do not drink ... wine."

#517 ::: FMguru ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 08:02 PM:

Yeesh, this crop of trolls was so feeble and obvious that it didn't even spawn any second-order trolls - you know, the ones that show up later and excoriate us for not being perfectly polite and granting every benefit of the doubt to the first batch of trolls.

#518 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 09:43 PM:

It brings on accountancy.

Which leads us to The Crimson Permanent Assurance.

It's fun to charter an accountant
and sail the wide accountancy...

#519 ::: NelC ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 10:06 PM:

I was thinking that drinking spirit of naval hero would be less a vampire thing, and more of a mystical drawing of mana, and that would be perfect for a Tim Powers novel. But then I realised he'd already written it as The Drawing of the Dark (though it was a land-bound hero, rather than a naval one, and he'd been preserved for rather longer).

#520 ::: NelC ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 10:12 PM:

Rumpires? As in Rumpire of the Bailey?

#521 ::: Ron Sullivan ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 11:38 PM:

Lila @ 443: ... if a person gets simultaneously bitten by a werewolf, a vampire and a zombie, which does he/she turn into?

A colander.

And I call Firsties with the Zomvampwolf Cookbook.

#522 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 12:50 AM:

But if an elf gets bitten by a zomvamwolf, then....

That way lies madness.

#523 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 01:16 AM:

I went and read up on Max Markson. He's a bad fellow. His main line of business appears to be "celebrity management," which means he arranges high-paying gigs for his clients, then takes 20% of the gross.

This gives rise to two sorts of scandal. One is "checkbook journalism," where he swoops in and signs up someone who's just become hot news, then brokers large payments from news networks in return for exclusive interviews. This is much resented when the client's story touches on the public interest, or the client has become famous through wrongdoing, or the client has been the beneficiary of public funds (through military intervention, for instance, or an expensive rescue).

The other source of scandal is Markson's habitual abuse of charity. It goes like this: Max Markson contacts some famous and/or interesting celebrity who can be persuaded to come to Australia, and offers them a prestigious and lucrative speaking tour that will also benefit Australian charities. If the celebrity agrees, Markson contacts a charitable organization and offers them some large amount of money in return for the use of their name. If they agree, he sets up and publicizes some big-ticket speaking and schmoozing events.

The trouble comes when the celebrity proves to be less of a draw than anticipated, as apparently happened with Rudy Giuliani and Cherie Blair. If not enough tickets are sold, the celebrities still collect their guaranteed fees, Max Markson still collects his 20%, and the charities wind up holding the short end of the stick.

Markson publicly scoffed at reports that the amount netted by charities in Melbourne was dwarfed by Cherie Blair's speaking fees. He also claimed that after paying salaries and expenses, his own compensation amounted to a modest $40,000. However, since I assume those "salaries and expenses" included his own, I'm not impressed.

---

In more recent news:

On January 27th of this year, Max Markson signed up a couple of new clients: Tareq and Michaele Salahi, that pair of irresponsible famewhores who gate-crashed a White House state dinner last November.

A few days later, on the first of February, a publication called mUmBRELLA noticed that the Wikipedia entry on fiasco-prone television personality Naomi Robson had lost many of its most interesting details. They checked the edit record and found the edits had been done by a user named "Maxmarkson," who'd also said in the Talk page that the deleted content was libelous and false, and that he’d be happy to put a random Wikipedian in direct contact with Naomi.

Which, for someone who fancies himself the cleverest of clever bastards, was an amazingly clueless thing to do.

The missing content was restored by other Wikipedians as day doth follow night, whereupon "Maxmarkson" and another user named "Marksonsparks" deleted it again, others restored it again, Maxmarkson/Marksonsparks deleted it yet again ... you know the drill.

Next day, Max Markson issued a statement saying:

”There was libellous content
Nope.
and a lot of it wasn’t properly sourced
Dude, the videos are on YouTube. The stories were reported on major Australian newspapers.
so it had to be sorted. The stuff up there was such rubbish.
Translation: it's inconvenient to have that information be accessible when Robson is looking to relaunch her career with a web-based chat show.

I'll deplore as much as anyone the tendency of the mainstream media to use Wikipedia for their basic research, but sanitizing the entry on Naomi Robson is not the answer.

I’m a spin doctor. I’m doing my job.”
That is, he thinks that calling yourself a publicist is a license to tell lies.

The content Max Markson tried to delete is still there on Wikipedia. The only lasting effect of his attempts to whitewash Naomi Robson's history is that her entry now includes a section about the edit war.

---

Finally, one more thing I found out about Max Markson: He's the author of this quote:

"People have ideas all the time. I've had millions of them. The hard part isn't having the idea, it's making it work."
It's nice to see that coming from the chief mouthpiece for the Adrian Jacobs estate.

#524 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 01:23 AM:

Colander, for the win!

What if he simultaneously gets bitten by a vampire, a werewolf, a zombie, and a radioactive spider?

#525 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 02:14 AM:

Well, take your Macbook Pro in for a blown motherboard and look at what comes up when you can't go online.

Teresa Nielsen Hayden:

Now, I really have been looking at IP addresses.

This ranks right up there with the introductions "My surname is Li and my personal name is Kao, and there is a slight flaw in my character" and "My name is Inigo Montoya..." as words I Do Not Want To Hear When I've Done Or Am Doing Something Stupid.

What if he simultaneously gets bitten by a vampire, a werewolf, a zombie, and a radioactive spider?

Sounds like a legitimate question. Maybe we can ask Marver to have Blade, John Jameson, most of the cast of Marvel Zombies, and the janitor at the lab that Peter Parker visited on a field trip do a quick practical experiment.

#526 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 02:52 AM:

What I'm wondering is, what if a werewolf is gnawing on you, and while that's going on, a zombie bites the werewolf. Does the zombie infection travel up through the werewolf quickly enough to infect you too?

#527 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 03:16 AM:

Another question: if you're already zombified (contagious but not yet dead) and a werewolf with cuts or canker sores in its mouth is gnawing on you, will it get infected?

#528 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 03:25 AM:

Avram #526: Does the zombie infection travel up through the werewolf quickly enough to infect you too?

I think, perhaps, that Zombie Boss Glorian is powerful enough to do that.

#529 ::: Simon Bradshaw ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 04:02 AM:

What if he simultaneously gets bitten by a vampire, a werewolf, a zombie, and a radioactive spider?

Coming full circle to the original basis of this topic, I imagine he gets a Cease and Desist letter from an unholy consortium of comic book publishers and film studios.

#530 ::: alex ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 04:09 AM:

@514
alex @462:
I have a cold, I couldn't rot13 my own name.

In case it becomes necessary: nyrk

Now see, that just sounds rude, unlike, say, nov, which might almost be a term of endearment.

And I still have a cold, dammit.

#531 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 04:13 AM:

alex @530:

Well, I read it and thought, "New York", which is a pleasant association. I was sitting in Brooklyn at the time (right next to Teresa as a matter of fact), so that's an informed opinion.

But I'm sorry about the cold.

(Nov? Could work.)

#532 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 04:44 AM:

A zombie western version of Seven Samurai could be called The Putrescent Seven. OK, OK! I'm going back to bed. Jeez.

#533 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 04:48 AM:

Serge @ 532... Abd the movie's director would have to be John Scourges, and yes, I'm really going back to sleep now.

#534 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 08:59 AM:

#524 Teresa:

Zomwolfvam, Zomwolfvam,
Spins a web like a spider can.
What's that thing with claws so red?
Sucked the brains from your head!
Hey there, there goes the zomwolfvam.

#535 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 11:59 AM:

Tom @ 522

But if an elf gets bitten by a zomvamwolf, then....

"Zomvamwelf"

(Which gives us a chance for the novel to piss off Dan Brown as well, because we could introduce a sub-plot about medieval papal conspiracies ....)

#536 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 12:17 PM:

Steve Taylor @ #515: I wish he had the 'Man from Snowy River' one up one the web.

That's one of the ones included in the Poetica interview.

#537 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 12:40 PM:

My husband suggested last night that the correct answer to "If you get bitten simultaneously by a vampire, a werewolf and a zombie, what do you turn into?" is "A Republican."

#538 ::: alex ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 03:12 PM:

@531: a Yorkshire accent helps - eh-oop, nov, 'ow yeh doin'?

#539 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 03:26 PM:

Heather Rose Jones #535: I'd want to go that one step further and see the story be about mediæval PayPal conspiracies.

#540 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 06:10 PM:

Simon Bradshaw@529

Thankyou, I think that is the first time I have ever literally LOL'd at what I can only describe as legal humour.

Though Ron Sullivan@521 and Jim MacDonald@505 had made me giggle, and therefore set you up.

#541 ::: Bob Webber ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 09:15 PM:

Teresa @524:

You get a colander that produces spaghetti that always sticks to the wall.

#542 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2010, 02:53 PM:

This is the best thread for years! Chocolate all round.

#543 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2010, 03:59 PM:

Heather Rose Jones @ 535: and if the Zomvamwelf bites a weaver, you get a zomvamweft...at which point I'm not sure you can selvage the situation...

#544 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2010, 05:42 PM:

If a zomwolf bites a vampire and the vampire is an umpire, you have a zomwolfvamumpire.

If a zomwolf bites a vampire and the vampire is an umpire and they're playing for the Empire and the Empire's all a-gyre, you have a Zomwolfvamumpgyrolassic Empire.

If the zomwolf is on fire whilst munching on the vamumpire and they're sitting on a church spire in the Gyrolassic Empire and the vampire's reading Foxfire while wielding a hair dryer, you have a ....

Please sir, please sir, Mr. Clarke sir, I can't take this silly snark, sir!

#545 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2010, 11:06 PM:

(jumping to the end of this incredible demonstration of what trolls and sockpuppets look like in the wild)

Is it me, or is the promotional package Mr. Jacobs' estate bought from this (evidently Mad) Max Markson about at the same level of competence as Mr. Jacobs' writing?

#546 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2010, 11:28 PM:

Michael Roberts @544 Yaaayyyyyyy! Hearts and flowers!

#547 ::: Robe ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2010, 04:35 AM:

The amazing thing about this Willy the Wizard case is how similar it is to Nancy Stouffer and her muggles. Strange most of the press seem to have forgotten her?

She listed down on her website all the "similarities" between her work and Rowlings, which on closer inspection were either common fantasy cliches, just common cliches full stop or just clutching at straws. She also claimed to have had contact with Warner Bros and JKR's US publishers, even though they like Little had nothing to do with the creation of the books. Rowling had been turned down by another agent before she contacted Little, who had rejected her before having his mind changed by a member of his staff.

Willy the Wizard features a wizard and mentions a wizard place of education.
Have his estate never heard of the Worst Witch, Discworld and Earthsea?

As for both characters rescuing people, that is one of the biggest cliches in the book. The Prince rescues Sleeping Beauty, Perseus rescues Andromeda from a sea monster and Siegfried (after slaying a dragon)rescues Brynhildr.

Willy the Wizard does not even rescue people from a lake with merepeople and lake monsters.

His rescue is more like the 1973 The Goodies and the Beanstalk episode when three teams have take part in It's a Knockout parody and rescue three "princesses" from their sleep.

#548 ::: Robe ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2010, 05:11 AM:

I wonder why the estate of Willy the Wizard haven't sued Codemasters for the late 80s & early 90s game Wizard Willy by Codemasters?

You have to rescue Princess Fifi from the evil emperor's fortress.

#549 ::: Robe ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2010, 05:15 AM:

I wonder why the estate of Willy the Wizard haven't sued Codemasters for the late 80s & early 90s game Wizard Willy by Codemasters?

You have to rescue Princess Fifi from the evil emperor's fortress.

#550 ::: Ron Sullivan ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2010, 11:49 PM:

Returning late to the party, but Bob Webber @ 541, I'll buy you a beer for that one.

#551 ::: FRank Persol ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2010, 11:51 AM:

So you are still all here, stumbling about with your tepid little in-jokes, Ms Hayden’s twisted versions of reality and your self--congratulatory drivel. I have deliberately given you the long flounce about 200 posts ago, in order to swim, enjoy the beaches of Australia , eat those lobsters and wagyu beef , drink scorpinos party and generally enjoy a luxurious lifestyle. If You all prefer to think I am a teenager (I wish) in a darkened basement lying to you-then that is your self delusion and long may you enjoy it.
If you were talented writers you’d be doing your writing on your own work instead of displacement activity of disparaging others and prattling your little vomity fantasies at each other on this backwater blog site.
Well thanks to all you scurrying cockroaches for all the nonsense about living chess and the other red herrings you so greedily snapped at- I enjoyed leaving you to stew in your own little fetid pond of small brained disbelief that anyone claiming originality in Jacobs’ work must be wrong-or that St Jo Rowling couldn’t possible have ripped off Adrian Jacobs work. The law suit still exists it would appear! You all make jokes about suing each other but the truth is you have neither the wherewithal or talent to be worth infringing.
And as for Ms Haydens vitriolic and one sided attack on a certain publicist-she of course preys and plays upon your collective blindness to fool you into believing that her half referenced versions are the whole truth-when elsewhere she must have come across enough rebuttals of some her assertions to make her deliberate attacks the poisonous tripe that they truly are. Still That Publicist Gentleman-whose payroll you think I am on (he couldn’t afford me) can take care of himself- and Ms Haydens libels.

I shall restrain myself from visiting your pages ever again-and if you think that Teresa Hayden Nielson
Doesn’t have a “rubbish Jacobs and his supporters” agenda-why then just read her blogs again.
As for me ,look for me no more among your toilet bowl of swirling endless blabbering

Yours ,speeding away in the convertible with music playing, in silk crocodile gold
And with diamonds on my hands- I commend you to Oscar Wilde who had more talent in his left buttock that you self absorbed prattlers ever will have in your whole lives
Flouncing away your old astroturf troll and avatar rum-runner and vegetarian vampire Frank Persol
Ps Wizard Chess Ha Ha Ha You bit on that like rabid dogs!
pps Prose -ha ha ha
ppps Oscar Wilde said Living Well-is the best revenge!

#552 ::: Jeremy Preacher ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2010, 11:58 AM:

Translation: "I flounced, and you stopped talking about me! Therefore I will come back and FLOUNCE AGAIN."

#553 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2010, 11:59 AM:

Flouncing is much better when the flouncer doesn't come back to see if it had any effect.
(Just saying.)

#554 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2010, 12:09 PM:

#1: Winning by Losing.

See also #6: Hotel California Guest and #10: Unbelievable Credentials.

#555 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2010, 12:33 PM:

What a remarkable coincidence that Frank popped up again immediately after a couple of comments about John Clarke's memorable burbling appeared in a different thread.

#556 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2010, 12:46 PM:

Of course we're still here. We've been here for years, and hosts willing, we'll be here for years more.

Ps. Because for that is what I am doing!

#557 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2010, 12:56 PM:

That was weird.

I'm just glad I don't have the wherewithal or talent to be worth infringing.

#558 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2010, 01:33 PM:

Friends don't let friends post drunk (if he has any, that is).

#559 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2010, 01:55 PM:

Earl, how could you say something like that? Of course he has friends - what beach-lounging, lobster-eating, roadster-driving playboy doesn't have friends? Even if he is only semi-literate.

#560 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2010, 02:21 PM:

Please preserve that. It's remarkably weird.

#561 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2010, 02:22 PM:

I think, perhaps, that they're just obsequious sycophants taking advantage of his good and generous nature just for the lobster. Fame and success can do that to a person unawares.

#562 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2010, 03:14 PM:

Oscar Wilde said Living Well-is the best revenge!

No, he didn't. It was George Herbert. Look it up.

Thanks for playing, Frank. Bye-bye. Have a nice life.

#563 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2010, 03:38 PM:

I think Earl has the right of it, and that our Frank has looked upon the beer when it was amber.

It's a shame it hasn't made him happy. Despite his desperate protests to the contrary, few genuinely happy people take the time to spill badly-punctuated bile all over an old thread. Mostly they're busy having fun.

I hope things improve for you, Frank.

#564 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2010, 03:58 PM:

abi @ 563: Do I detect a Flanders & Swann reference there?

#565 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2010, 04:03 PM:

Punctuated bile, Abi? That makes me think of someone who spat out bile into the Antarctic's rather frigid air, resulting in a heap of little beads all over the place.

#566 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2010, 04:06 PM:

dcb @564:

Longfellow, originally, though it's entered the realms of idiom.

But a double life was the life he led,
And, while professing to be in search
Of a godly course, and willing, he said,
Nay, anxious to join the Puritan church,
He made of all this but small account,
And passed his idle hours instead
With roystering Morton of Merry Mount,
That pettifogger from Furnival's Inn,
Lord of misrule and riot and sin,
Who looked on the wine when it was red.

Tales of a Wayside Inn, 1863

I got it from Lord Peter Wimsey, however.

#567 ::: James ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2010, 04:21 PM:

Proverbs 23:31, actually.

I gather that it is unclear which colour is actually referred to in the Hebrew: Douay-Rheims translates it as "yellow".

#568 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2010, 04:22 PM:

James @567:

Well, drat, or rather, cool. So it is.

#569 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2010, 04:42 PM:

I'll bet even they got it from somebody earlier. The Mohenjo-Darans, maybe.

#570 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2010, 04:52 PM:

Wow. Totally fascinating. I'd forgotten Lord Peter Whimsey referencing it, and, although I have (some time ago) read Proverbs, "Do not ogle that red wine" (JPS translation according to the traditional Hebrew text), it's a long way from there to "the beer when it is amber". I'm not surprised about Flanders & Swann knowing and utilising the Longfellow version.

#571 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2010, 04:54 PM:

The wine/beer red/amber swap may have been used elsewhere; I did not check when I adapted the expression to Australian culture.

Flanders & Swann reference, from the knowing, pls?

#572 ::: James ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2010, 04:58 PM:

"Then it passed through her mind what her mother had said
With her antepenultimate breath:
"Oh my child, when you look on the wine when it is red
Be prepared for a fate worse than death".

I understand that the song (Madeira, M'Dear) is actually a real music-hall song and antedates F&S, but I may be wrong.

#573 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2010, 05:16 PM:

Full lyrics available at http://www.guntheranderson.com/v/data/havesome.htm

I love the use of language in that song:
"he hastened to put out the cat
The wine, his cigar and the lamps"

However, for the full flavour, you really need to hear it performed by Flanders & Swann.

For one thing, the written lyrics lack the verbal addition about a young boy who "loves that song, sings it all the time. Of course, he thinks it's about cake."

#574 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2010, 05:44 PM:

dcb: Bob Asprin and Dr. Bob Passovoy used to do a delightful version of "Madeira, M'Dear."

#575 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2010, 05:48 PM:

And I've found in on You Tube (not the version I'm used to; this one was obviously for an American audience).

Have Some Madeira, M'Dear

#576 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2010, 06:15 PM:

Lori Coulson @ 574: I wish I'd had a chance to experience that.

James @ 572: all the references I can find cite it as lyrics & music Flanders & Swann.

#577 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2010, 06:16 PM:

Lori Coulson @ 574: I wish I'd had a chance to experience that.

James @ 572: all the references I can find cite it as lyrics & music Flanders & Swann.

#578 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2010, 07:42 PM:

A Google News search for adrian jacobs rowling lawsuit, constrained to hits from the past week, turns up nothing.

A regular Google web search (again, constrained to within the past week) turns up a bunch of hits, but it's all bottom-feeder stuff and leftovers. (Like, for instance, a story about Rowling working on something new, and there's a link to an earlier piece about the lawsuit in a "related stories" sidebar.)

Markson's clearly trying to stir something up, get more attention, keep the story in the news.

The funniest bit is how "Persol" just keeps harping on that lobsters-and-beach lifestyle. It's obvious that his entire notion of how rich people live their lives is derived from watching commercials.

#579 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2010, 07:54 PM:

Avram 578: The funniest bit is how "Persol" just keeps harping on that lobsters-and-beach lifestyle. It's obvious that his entire notion of how rich people live their lives is derived from watching commercials.

Quite. That, and his lack of language skills, are what made me think he's probably a teenager. Well, and the fact that he appears to think that him living in luxury will somehow upset us ("FRODO DOESNT HAVE A POOL"), or even that in some arcane fashion it means he wins despite losing in every other conceivable way.

He also doesn't seem to realize that concluding that he's a teenager is a kind interpretation. If a (chronological) adult wrote all those posts, he's ignorant, immature, and extraordinarily poorly socialized—for an adult. Teenagers have more of an excuse for clumsy language and clumsy arguments (and lack of manners); ignorance on the finer points is why we keep sending them to school.

#580 ::: Lin Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2010, 11:27 PM:

Would somebody please ban Frank Persol? He keeps setting off my cough.

At "If you were talented writers", I started laughing. At "backwater blog site," I just lost it. The rest was hard to read thru the tears.

I used to work at Gold's Gym. We had an early morning guy who'd come in and expound to everybody about various conspiracies. He could get no additional adherents, because his sentence structure resembled Sarah Palin's. Frank soooo reminds me of that guy.

#581 ::: Lin Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2010, 11:29 PM:

er, say as opposed to David Bilek, who had content enough to engage.

#582 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2010, 11:50 PM:

FRank Persol :

If you were talented writers you’d be doing your writing on your own work instead of displacement activity of disparaging others and prattling your little vomity fantasies at each other on this backwater blog site.

"'Only Genuine Pre-War American and British Whiskeys Served Here.'

I was trying to count how many lies could be found in those nine words, and had reached four, with promise of more..."

#583 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2010, 07:16 AM:

Bruce E. Durocher II #582: Should we call him Liesol? ;-)

#584 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2010, 07:53 AM:

David Harmon #583: Diesol might be better.

#585 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2010, 09:09 AM:

David Harmon:

I say he's spinach, and I say...

#586 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2010, 10:45 AM:

He could certainly use a swipe of Lysol.

#587 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2010, 10:52 AM:

Nooooo, don't ban him! He's fun! Now excuse me whilst I go have a lobster. For breakfast.

#588 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2010, 11:36 AM:

Favorite way to "waste" lobster:

Wait for the grocery to have a sale on lobster tails. Buy a bunch and freeze all but one.

Make the pasta from your favorite Mac & Cheese box (I prefer Annie's shells and afredo). Meanwhile, defrost a package of Green Giant creamed spinach.

While pasta drains, melt the 2 tbls butter as you normally would. Cook the lobster tail in it. Chop into bitesizes.

Add the creamed spinach to the cooked lobster and butter. Dump in the cheese/seasoning packet and mix well. Skip the milk, or add just enough to get the consistency you like. Fold in the pasta.

Ta-da! Lobster Florentine! Guaranteed to appall the neighbors ("You did what with lobster? Heretic!") until they have a bite.

#589 ::: Robe ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2010, 11:48 AM:

In the Chinese story which is hundreds of years old, the Monkey King becomes one of thirty pupils at the Cave of the Slanting Moon and Three Stars where the Patriarch Subodhi teaches him the art of 72 transformations, how to jump from cloud to cloud and the art of eternal life.

Later in the story Monkey takes part in a dangerous magic contest against three other magical creatures.

Likewise in the Bible book of Exodus Moses and Aaron have a magic contest against Egyptian magicians by turning their staffs into snakes. The Egytians loose when their snakes are swallowed up by Aaron's snake.

So the idea of a magical place of education goes back hundreds of years and magic contests thousands.

I wonder if FRank Persol is the person as ronbaker posting at the telegraph.co.uk article by Toby Young (author of How to Lose Friends & Alienate People and The Sound of No Hands Clapping)who seems who is upset Rowling is a billionaire and he isn't.

Ronbaker either works for the Jacob estate or is a garde one conspiracy freak who believes the HP books were written by several people and ignores the fact that the last lawsuit against Rowling not only failed but was guilty of fraud.

#590 ::: Robe ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2010, 11:49 AM:

In the Chinese story which is hundreds of years old, the Monkey King becomes one of thirty pupils at the Cave of the Slanting Moon and Three Stars where the Patriarch Subodhi teaches him the art of 72 transformations, how to jump from cloud to cloud and the art of eternal life.

Later in the story Monkey takes part in a dangerous magic contest against three other magical creatures.

Likewise in the Bible book of Exodus Moses and Aaron have a magic contest against Egyptian magicians by turning their staffs into snakes. The Egytians loose when their snakes are swallowed up by Aaron's snake.

So the idea of a magical place of education goes back hundreds of years and magic contests thousands.

I wonder if FRank Persol is the person as ronbaker posting at the telegraph.co.uk article by Toby Young (author of How to Lose Friends & Alienate People and The Sound of No Hands Clapping)who seems who is upset Rowling is a billionaire and he isn't.

Ronbaker either works for the Jacob estate or is a grade one conspiracy freak who believes the HP books were written by several people and ignores the fact that the last lawsuit against Rowling not only failed but was guilty of fraud.

#591 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2010, 11:50 AM:

Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little #588:

I just saved that in my "recipes" folder, as "Lobster Fluorentine". ;-)

#592 ::: Lin Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2010, 05:27 PM:

Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little #588:

It sounds perfectly yummy to me.

David Harmon, #591

Now I gotta go change my file name.

#593 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2010, 09:17 PM:

Fluorentine. Ha! Love it.

#594 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2010, 02:33 AM:

Robe @590:

Having just gone looking for Toby Young's stuff, I can tell he's a clue-free zone by his article on the Dutch politician Geert Wilders. I suppose it shouldn't come as any surprise, then, that a free-market Tory is complaining that the free market has rewarded the wrong person.

Ronbaker's word choice and sentence structure is similar to Frank's, but I'd point out that his comma use is actually within the bounds of normality. Perhaps Frank has his company grammar on for the newspaper blogs.

#595 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2010, 09:22 AM:

abi #594: I suppose it shouldn't come as any surprise, then, that a free-market Tory is complaining that the free market has rewarded the wrong person.

One advantage of the fact that the invisible hand of the market is, well, invisible, is that you don't have to look at the Beau's and Muehrcke's lines on its cracked, mangled fingernails (smarmy rhinestone accents do not suffice to hide all of the market's invisible flaws).

#596 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2010, 10:49 AM:

In the Chinese story which is hundreds of years old, the Monkey King becomes one of thirty pupils at the Cave of the Slanting Moon and Three Stars where the Patriarch Subodhi teaches him the art of 72 transformations, how to jump from cloud to cloud and the art of eternal life.

My favourite part of that story comes at the end, when the Monkey King is preparing to return to the world, and asks the Patriarch what payment is due in return for his teaching.

The Patriarch, who by this point has come to know the Monkey King rather better than he did when he accepted him as a pupil, replies that if he does one small thing, he may consider the matter settled.

"When you get into trouble, and they ask you who taught you all the 72 transformations, how to jump from cloud to cloud and the art of eternal life, don't tell them it was me."

#597 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2010, 12:21 PM:

Michael Roberts #587: You're not doing it right unless you have it for breakfast in an omelette at Mom's Triangle Inn.

#598 ::: Robe ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2010, 05:56 AM:

Paul A another funny moment is when Pigsy complains about two people given higher "promotion" than him.

#599 ::: Mandalynn ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2010, 11:17 PM:

I've tried to read each of these posts. This is also my first time to the site but I had to comment on Frank Presol #185 "Top lawyers have looked at this case and found it has great merit."

Yes and lawyers in America also took on a client who threw out a suit against McDonalds for making them fat.

Just saying. Now I must get back to reading the entertainment.

#600 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2010, 01:28 AM:

Welcome to the discussion, Mandalynn. Hope to see you posting again.

#601 ::: frank persol ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2010, 07:54 PM:

http://www.lxsnxs.cm/Cmmnty/cpyrght-trdmrklw/blgs/cpyrghtndtrdmrklwblg/rchv/2010/07/16/th-strng-cs-f-wlly-th-wzrd-vrss-hrry-pttr-lln-v-schlstc-nc-1-10-cv-05335-sdny-jly-13-2010.spx

oh look Rowling is being sued for plagiarism again
again
must be time those lobsters need eating!
Peace LOve and Truth FP

#602 ::: Xopher says Will no one rid us of this pestering wretch ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2010, 07:59 PM:

I'm so tired of this idiotic troll.

#603 ::: frank persol ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2010, 08:26 PM:

Why Xopher-it's called free speech!
I think I like this site because it is so honest-but you know I only blog on the Jacobs case
so wotz de problemo amigo
This thread is "rowling is being sued again"
and she is being sued again in the good old USA!
off to my punctuation class
thanks for letting me post!
must dash
FP

#604 ::: Renatus ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2010, 08:45 PM:

It's like watching a turtle that's missing its two left legs splash around in a pond; no matter how furiously it paddles its remaining flippers, it only goes around in circles.

#605 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2010, 08:50 PM:

Except the turtle would be more aware of its condition. This thing is going back to eat more lobster on the beach in Australia.

I hope he wears a swimsuit. They won't find his frozen corpse until spring.

#606 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2010, 08:54 PM:

Frank, sunshine, free speech only applies to the US government. This blog is not obligated to provide you with a platform for your oafishness in pursuit of the principle.

We only permit you to post because you're a testament to the enduring power of human folly. And that's getting dull.

As to content: just as the US complaint includes the British one by reference, so does this thread's analysis cover the new lawsuit as well. Filing in another jurisdiction isn't actually new or interesting material for the thread.

#607 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2010, 09:07 PM:

abi, have I told you lately how much I love you? I do. One minor correction, though:

We only permit you to post because you're a testament to the enduring power of human folly. And that's getting gotten dull.

#608 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2010, 09:29 PM:

Abi, Xopher: True. Persol isn't being nearly entertaining enough. Abi, have you banned him, or shall I do so? Or ... no, wait; Avram's already proposed to ban him, beating me to it by about eleven minutes.

Avram, he's all yours. Go ahead and do that thing.

Should we also rel=nofollow the links, or would that be too much trouble?

#609 ::: TNH explains "free speech" to that idiot Frank Persol ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2010, 09:42 PM:

Frank Persol, you have as much free speech as I do. That is to say, you have the right to put up your own website, and say (or refuse to say) whatever you please on it, as long as you don't violate any laws by doing so.

I now direct your attention to comment #601. See what's happened to that URL you posted? That's me exercising my freedom of speech. This is my weblog, and I don't have to put up with your nonsense. Go away.

#610 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2010, 09:48 PM:

Xopher, would now be an appropriate time for the vuvuzela?

#611 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2010, 09:54 PM:

Lila, yes; and other kinds of imitation farting.

#612 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2010, 10:05 PM:

The deed is done.

#613 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2010, 10:10 PM:

Thank you Avram, Teresa, and Abi. I was so tired of that loser.

#614 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2010, 10:35 PM:

BRRRrrrbbRRrrrBBBRrrr.......

#615 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2010, 12:47 PM:

Teresa #609:

I am in awe of the creativity of the proprietors. It had never occurred to me to disemvowel just a link. All hail!

#616 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2010, 01:06 PM:

joann@615: I was thinking of that just yesterday. I like the idea a lot.

All the transnational domains I can think of (.com, .org, .net, .edu, .gov, and the newer ones like .biz, .info, and so forth) have a vowel in them. The rest of the URL, if it's to your own site, you can control, and you could construct one with no vowels, but if it's in any of the "big" top-level domains there will always be at least one vowel there, and removing one is enough to render it non-working.

There are country-specific TLDs without a vowel, though; tv, cz, mn, and so forth. One could construct a disemvoweling-proof URL in one of them.

Of course, that's merely an intellectual exercise; disemvoweling is not the only tactic available.

#617 ::: Calioril ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2010, 06:36 PM:

I actually think she has plagiarised most of her ideas from Terry Pratchett. He fundamentally creates spontaneous ideas throughout the Discworld series, in most cases he doesn't expand on these to great depths, which has given J.K Rowling the urge to expand on them.

#618 ::: Calioril ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2010, 06:36 PM:

I actually think she has plagiarised most of her ideas from Terry Pratchett. He fundamentally creates spontaneous ideas throughout the Discworld series, in most cases he doesn't expand on these to great depths, which has given J.K Rowling the urge to expand on them.

#619 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2010, 06:51 PM:

There is a great well of thought from which all writers may dip without the unjustified indignity of accusations of plagiarism.

#620 ::: mcz ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2010, 07:09 PM:

Xopher @ #605:

Nah. Chilled at most, with a light rime if the night was frosty (an infrequent phenomenon in Sydney).

#621 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2010, 08:12 PM:

mcz, you mean it NEVER gets killingly cold in Sydney? How unjust.

#622 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2010, 08:13 PM:

Carolil @ 617, Tolkien called it The Cauldron of Story. Pratchett himself called it White Knowledge. As Earl was suggesting, you can't write a story that really grabs the audience without echoing the stories humans have been telling themselves forever. I'm reading a book right now which is making the claim that many of Rowling's minor characters have names straight out of Tolkien. No, they were both drawing on knowledge of what sounds like the right name for a properly English, slightly humorous, minor character name. There's bound to be some overlap.

Still, being the pernicious academic I am, what examples do you see of Rowling borrowing, or overlapping with, Pratchett?

#623 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2010, 08:29 PM:

Somewhere a long time ago, I saw a very good detailed analysis of Rowling which concluded that the Harry Potter cycle was a retelling of the Mabonignon (sp?), the Welsh legend cycle. The author had really done a fine job of researching it as far as I could tell. Sadly, it was on Usenet and I didn't bother copying it to my own computer, so I suspect it's lost forever.

#624 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2010, 08:32 PM:

Note that ddb @616 was caught in the lofty tower where the moderation gnomes sit. It got sent there because some of the tld's cited are spam sources, and stayed because one of the gnomes was using it as a coaster.

#625 ::: mcz ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2010, 08:38 PM:

Xopher:

Winters (my favourite time of year!) are usually pleasant in Sydney. The average July minimum is 8.0°C and the maximum temp in the CBD is 16.3°C. Today's expected CBD min/max is 7/17.

In my western Sydney suburb we're looking at 4°C to 17°C.

The injustice of having good winters is made up for in summer. Ick.

#626 ::: ULTRAGOTHA ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2010, 10:48 AM:

Janet @622: "Still, being the pernicious academic I am, what examples do you see of Rowling borrowing, or overlapping with, Pratchett?"

Wizards! There's wizards in Pratchett and wizards in Rowling.

Witches! There's witches in Pratchett and witches in Rowling.

Dragons! There's dragons in Pratchett and dragons in Rowling.

Education! There's a Wizard University in Pratchett and a Wizard School in Rowlings.

Magic! There's magic in Pratchett and magic in Rowlings.

Beer! There's beer in Pratchett and butterbeer in Rowlings.

Yup, that about covers it. She couldn't possibly have come up with any of it on her own. No way she could have gotten any of those ideas anywhere else but Pratchett.

Unless she got them from Neil Gaiman.
Or Diana Wynne Jones.
Or Diane Duane.
Or Tolkien.
Or the Bible.
Or Jane Yolen.
Or the Brothers Grimm.
Or the author of Beowulf.
Or Greek Myth.
Or Norse Myth.
Or....

If my tongue were any more firmly in my cheek, I'd be sprained.

#627 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2010, 11:14 AM:

Well put, ULTRAGOTHA.

#628 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2010, 01:32 PM:

Janet Brennan Croft #622: There's also a line I remember from a discussion of Tolkien's work: That those who dig deeply enough in any field of study, can eventually strike a vein that runs beneath the whole of human experience.

#629 ::: Robe ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 11:50 AM:

Mallesons Stephen Jaques leading intellectual property lawyers in Australia have actually read Willy the Wizard and have come to this conclusion (although I have spotted a couple of "mistakes"):


Willy the Wizard v J K Rowling: Your exclusive IP Whiteboard analysis
Submitted by Natalie Hickey on 7 April 2010 - 4:44pm.
Many of our readers will recall that our intrepid IP Whiteboard team recently purchased Willy the Wizard: No 1 Livid Land. The book is the centrepiece of another copyright action which J K Rowling must defend.

As a brief recap, Adrian Jacobs, the author of Willy the Wizard, published his story in 1987 and died in the early 1990s. His estate brought the claim almost 20 years after the author’s death. The claim concerns the fourth of J K Rowling’s Harry Potter books, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Interestingly, the Australian publicist, Max Markson, is acting for the Estate in the case (recently in the public eye through his representation of Lara Bingle). Mr Markson was reported by The Guardian in February 2010 as saying that this was a "billion-dollar case" and "[w]e believe that she [Rowling] personally plagiarised the Willy the Wizard book. All of Willy the Wizard is in the Goblet of Fire".

However, rather than relying on third party reports, we thought we’d investigate the merits of this claim ourselves. Here’s what we think.

Willy the Wizard is a 16-page book describing a few adventures, loosely linked, of a wizard. Put generously, it’s a difficult read. The book is about wizards. That’s a similarity. But the protagonists have different names (Willy/Harry). A nil-all draw so far.

The fact that Willy the Wizard is 16 pages, and the Goblet of Fire is 636 pages, is not strictly relevant, as those familiar with the recent Men at Work case will know. However, given that the Goblet of Fire is such an epic read, we think it points against copying unless strong objective similarity can be shown between the two works.

However, we couldn’t find Willy the Wizard in the Goblet of Fire. In fact, but for the use of the occasional concept or idea common to the genre (wizards in a competition, wizards on trains, wizards playing chess, the use of a portal to go from one world to another), we could find absolutely nothing resembling Willy the Wizard at all in the J K Rowling work. And believe us. We searched!

The plaintiffs apparently point to the above matters as proof of plagiarism, and add that both protagonists won their respective wizard contests by thinking of the solution in a bathroom, assisted by clues from helpers to rescue human hostages imprisoned by a community of half-human, half-animal fantasy creatures.

Let’s test this for a minute. First, ideas and concepts are not protectable under copyright law. It is the expression of those ideas that matters. Therefore, in assessing the literary work, one must determine whether the text of the allegedly infringing work is objectively similar (or not) to the work in suit. Harry Potter fans, therefore, who recall fondly the Hogwart’s Express, the "gleaming scarlet steam engine" integral to the books, will sense no familiarity from the brief reference to "Cloud 84" in Willy the Wizard, a "pullman-like" train made of see-through platinum for chess players.

Likewise, "the second task" in the Goblet of Fire (which seems to be the area of primary complaint) involves Harry going to the Prefects’ bathroom ("It was softly lit by a splendid candle-filled chandelier, and everything was made of white marble, including what looked like an empty rectangular swimming pool sunk into the middle of the floor") to try and work out the secret of the golden egg. Contrast that to Willy, who "sat in his bath". It was in his "yellow bathroom-cum-study" that he was able to use a glorified TV set to find out the next wizard’s challenge. These scenes could not be more different. The fact that each is a "bathroom" is unlikely to be regarded as sufficient when examining the text.

The stories which then unfold are entirely distinct tales. The "second task" in Goblet of Fire involves help from Mad Myrtle, mermaids and mermen, and Harry saving his friends to gain points in the Triwizard Tournament. In Willy the Wizard, the story has an Australian flavour. "Kanganatives" populate Livid Land, mining gold dust from a Kangamine which is then conveyed to the Papua Mainland by swift silent canoes paddled by young (sigh) "Kangamaidens". The story ends with Willy winning the wizard’s test after the "ladies" (read: female prisoners) have been freed.

To conclude, it’s a very long bow to think that this case will succeed. It’s also relevant to ask, if J K Rowling thought Willy the Wizard was worth copying, why did she wait until her fourth book in the series before referencing it?

#630 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 02:15 PM:

Robe, #629: That's very informative -- thank you for posting it!

I keep catching myself thinking of this in SCA-heraldic terms, where three major points of differentiation are sufficient to say "this device is not sufficiently like that one to be rejected". If my heraldic vocabulary were a little stronger, it would be fun to develop "blazons" for Willy the Wizard and Goblet of Fire, and see how much they differ. I'll bet it would be a lot more than three points!

#631 ::: JaneMarie Llados ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2010, 01:14 PM:

I am 55 years old. I used to live with Mr Jacobs and his family in 1978/1979. He was one in a million. The best human being that I ever meet. Too generous for being a bussines man...I thought always. Some other writters had found in his home at St Johns Wood always a quite room for them to writte. The two years thar I had lived in the home of Mr Jacobs for me are unforgetable because of him. In my life had pass lots of people, but never anymore I had met someone as Mr Jacobs. Adrian was just AN ORIGINAL in every way. The best you could have from Adrian Jacobs, is to have met him, and much better than that, to live with him. I have daughters, 30 and 12 years old, and I always had spoken of him to them. He was also as a father for me in that time and his advice was priceless.
Mr Adrian Jacobs was a man millions times worth it than any book written for anyone.
GOD BLESS HIM....and my good memories go for Jonathan, his son, and for Jackie.
JANEMARIE...in London.

#632 ::: JaneMarie Llados ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2010, 01:16 PM:

I am 55 years old. I used to live with Mr Jacobs and his family in 1978/1979. He was one in a million. The best human being that I ever meet. Too generous for being a bussines man...I thought always. Some other writters had found in his home at St Johns Wood always a quite room for them to writte. The two years thar I had lived in the home of Mr Jacobs for me are unforgetable because of him. In my life had pass lots of people, but never anymore I had met someone as Mr Jacobs. Adrian was just AN ORIGINAL in every way. The best you could have from Adrian Jacobs, is to have met him, and much better than that, to live with him. I have daughters, 30 and 12 years old, and I always had spoken of him to them. He was also as a father for me in that time and his advice was priceless.
Mr Adrian Jacobs was a man millions times worth it than any book written for anyone.
GOD BLESS HIM....and my good memories go for Jonathan, his son, and for Jackie.
JANEMARIE...in London.

#633 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2010, 01:25 PM:

JaneMarie, none of that is germane to the question of whether the suit, brought not by him but by his estate, is justified or not.

#634 ::: janemarie ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2010, 04:14 PM:

I know...I know Xopher.
I wanted just to make my statement about the 'man' that is directly related with that issue. Whoever brought that suit, for me it does not matter and I do not know yet and I think neither do you, everything related to it. One thing I can tell you for sure, if Adrian Jacobs was alive, I think he will surprise everyone about it...who knows?. It is funny but having got to know him and living every day of my life beside him for two years...the first thing it came to my mind was: "He will be so happy up there watching the wealth of Harry Potter's author...because he always liked so much to share all he had with everyone"
Just and homage to him;
About the suit I think is like everything in any kind of bussiness.I could tell you a lot about this kind of issues. My husband is and endless resercher and an inventor on technology....and !my God! out there is so much of bad staff waiting to catch anything from anyone, and when it happens, you feel so disgusted that you just wonder if it wouldn't be much better to retire from the human world.
I enjoyed reading your posts.

#635 ::: afrah ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2010, 09:44 PM:

its sad how all people want to do is make money and their willing to go to such lenghts to get it. ya, theyre both wizards, ya they both have a competitions, ok you've accepted it, now get over it. besiedes, THE DUDES DEAD

#636 ::: Frank Persol ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2010, 03:48 PM:

In a Victory for the Estate of Adrian Jacobs” the senior English Judge ordered that the case must go to a full trial.
The case, involves allegations by the Estate of Adrian Jacobs a deceased British children’s author that J.K. Rowling copied a substantial part of Jacobs’ visionary 1987 book The Adventures of Willy The Wizard No 1 Livid Land, into her book Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire published 13 years later by Bloomsbury.. Both books tell the tale of a Wizard who discovers his true nature whilst a boy. Both books revolve around an International Wizards contest. In each book, the wizard only discovers his central task in a special bathroom, in both books the wizard must rescue artificially held hostages, from half-human creatures, acting as contest agents, to earn points and win.
The massive amount of evidence brought by the Estate included the same forensic linguistic procedures that the FBI used to trap the terrorist known as the Unabomber, factual testimony relating to Rowling and her agent Chris Little, and evidence from experts in Children’s fantasy literature demonstrating startling similarities between the two books The judge noted that .J.K.Rowling refused to produce her manuscripts, her agent Little refused to produce his diaries. Sir David said that there is” a real possibility that Chris Little’s account of events is simply not correct.” The Estate maintains that Jacobs’ literary agent was also Christopher Little, the same literary agent who years later “discovered” J.K. Rowling. Little now oversees the Harry Potter brand worldwide.
In The Adventures of Willy The Wizard, a short, densely written, beautifully illustrated book, Adrian Jacobs created a fantasy world intertwined with the real world in which there are Wizard Schools, Villages of Wizard Brewers, Gambling Wizards, Wizard Chess played on Wizard Trains, special Wizard Hospitals, Wizard Travel by magic powder, apparently headless creatures, Elves as Wizard Helpers, International Gatherings of Wizards, Human Memory Erasers, etc. The Estate claims that All of these Jacobs’ concepts are echoed in Harry Potter and familiar now to Potter readers,.
As you know I have blogged a lot about this-I have been consistent in my support for ths action.Now a High Court Judge says there is a case for J.K.Rowling to answer! FP

#637 ::: Lexica ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2010, 03:53 PM:

Just to be complete:

Justice David Kitchin has ruled that while the claim by the estate of the late fantasy author Adrian Jacobs had a chance of success, he described it as being "improbable." He also issued an order demanding a cash security before any further hearings are held on the matter.
Source (AP story via Google; not sure how long the link will be good)

#638 ::: William Hardy ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2010, 01:56 PM:

To Frank Persol:

The reason there are some similarities is because the common uses of fiction writing. There are more than thousand schools in Europe, any one of those could have influence Rowling's book. Plus Rowling was influenced by X-Men where mutants go to Mutant School. International contests? Ever you and Paul Allen heard of the Olympics and the World Cup? I guess not.

Another 'plagiarize' claim that you failed to add is that both books had protagonist got help from friends and teamwork. That is one of the most basic uses in fiction writing, ever. I seen it in Rurouni Kenshin, Lord of the Rings and many more examples on http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/FiveManBand.

#639 ::: Benjamin Wolfe sees a spam probe ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2010, 04:22 PM:

Same exact comment on two older threads. I smell spam.

#640 ::: mcz ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2011, 04:14 AM:

And finally, a resolution to this mess:

Harry Potter plagiarism case thrown out
Sydney Morning Herald
January 7, 2011 - 4:39PM

A U.S. judge on Thursday dismissed a lawsuit accusing Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling with copying the work of another author when writing Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

The estate of late author Adrian Jacobs had said that the plot of the book, the fourth of seven in the wildly successful series that has been turned into a multi-billion-dollar film franchise, copied parts of the plot of his book "Willy the Wizard," including a wizard contest, and that Rowling borrowed the idea of wizards travelling on trains.

[read the rest here].

#641 ::: Alex ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2011, 08:34 PM:

Even if Rowling HAD heard of Willy the Wizard, I doubt she would have read it. The prose of the booklet is so hauntingly horrible, that anyone with an accurate command of the English language would have immediately put down the book after reading the first three pages.

#642 ::: Robe ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2011, 03:00 PM:

Willy owns a chocolate factory in the book. I wonder where Jacobs got that idea from?

#643 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2011, 03:02 PM:

According to a recent article in The Bookseller, the British suit has clawed its way out of from under its mound beside the gravestone, pulled the stake from its heart, and lurched toward the court again after payment of £50,000.

From what I can gather from the article, the plaintiffs have been asked to pay £1.4 million as part of pursuing their case, and are appealing that requirement. Pursuing that appeal requires payment of £50k. It appears that these amounts are some kind of surety against the cost of the trial.

The appeal against the £1.4m costs is to be held in July, and the full trial is calendered for next February.

Also of note is the amount of time and energy our sometime guest, Frank Persol, has put into the comment thread on The Bookseller. There is, alas, no sign at present of our equally loquacious acquaintance, John Clarke.

It all makes me remember the delightful morning Martin and I spent reading this thread while visiting Patrick and Teresa, quoting comments at one another and all but falling off of our chairs laughing.

Good times.

#644 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2011, 03:57 PM:

I'm amazed that Frank Persol has any time for commenting, now that it's lobster-on-the-beach season in Australia again. For that is what he is doing.

#645 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2011, 04:42 PM:

abi #644: Yeah, the British court system can sometimes double-bind poor folks, but the flip side is that they're also pretty hard on frivolous suitors.

#646 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2011, 07:25 PM:

I do wonder if we're ever going to find out who "Frank Persol" is and what his relationship to the case might be.

#647 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2011, 04:08 PM:

The appeal against the requirement for surety failed last Thursday. The first tranche of the surety was therefore required, and was not paid. The case is over.

#648 ::: David Goldfarb sees really ironic spam ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2012, 05:09 AM:

Recorded for posterity, the cut'n'pasted text:

"If you are a spammer, your fate is in the hands of Jim Macdonald, and your foot shall slide in due time.

Comments containing more than seven URLs will be held for approval. If you want to comment on a thread that's been closed, please post to the most recent "Open Thread" discussion."

...I mean, just, wow.

#649 ::: Cadbury Moose thinks this spammer is just begging for it ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2012, 05:11 AM:

Unless it's some sort of Gnomic Testing, of course.

Suspicious link in the poster name, anyhoo.

#650 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2012, 09:29 AM:

Their foot done slid!

#651 ::: Tom Whitmore tests spam ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2013, 12:19 AM:

On an old thread

"with a cloth untrue, and a twisted cue, and elliptical billiard balls "

Nigerians like Miriam Abacha (Mrs.) who have money to get out of the country look at places like this to sell cialis and other drugs.

#652 ::: john sees spam ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2014, 09:51 AM:

Generic praise, generic username, link to yahoo.com

Welcome to Making Light's comment section. The moderators are Avram Grumer, Jim Macdonald, Teresa & Patrick Nielsen Hayden, and Abi Sutherland. Abi is the moderator most frequently onsite. She's also the kindest. Teresa is the theoretician. Are you feeling lucky?

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Making Light copyright 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 by Patrick & Teresa Nielsen Hayden. All rights reserved.