U.S. judge dismisses plagiarism claim against author J.K. Rowling

Published: Friday, Jan. 7 2011 2:46 p.m. MST

A U.S. judge has dismissed a plagiarism lawsuit against author J.K. Rowling, ending what a PR representative for the estate of British author Adrian Jacobs once called a billion-dollar case.

According to the Christian Science Monitor, U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin in New York dismissed the suit brought by the estate of Jacobs against Scholastic, Rowlings U.S. publisher.

In her ruling, Scheindlin wrote, The contrast between the total concept and feel of the works is so stark that any serious comparison of the two strains credulity.

According to The Independent, Rowling may still have to appear in a U.K. court after the High Court ruled in October the claim was improbable but still had a chance of success.

In February the Christian Science Monitor reported that the estate of Jacobs alleged that Rowling lifted concepts — wizard contests, wizard prisons, wizard hospitals and wizard colleges — from Jacobss 1987 book, The Adventures of Willy the Wizard: No. 1 Livid Land and used them in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

Reuters reports that according to his estate, Jacobs had also, at one point, sought the services of literary agent Christopher Little, who later became Rowlings agent. The estate claims that Jacobs died penniless in a London hospice in 1997.

Rowling is quoted in a New York Times blog as saying that she had never heard of Jacobss book until the plagiarism charge was made.

In the Guardian, a spokesperson for Scholastic stated, The courts swift dismissal supports our position that the case was completely without merit and that comparing Willy the Wizard to the Harry Potter series was absurd.

In 2002, Rowling won a plagiarism case against author Nancy Stouffer, who claimed that Rowling had taken ideas from her book, The Legend of Rah and the Muggles. According to the BBC, Stouffer accused Rowling of lifting the term Muggles, and of using the name of Stouffers main character, Larry Potter, in creating Harry Potter.

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