Harry Potter and the Lawyer from Wagga
The stage has been set in London for a high profile court case between the creators of Harry Potter and Willie the Wizard…a case brought by a lawyer from Wagga.
Willie the Wizard’s creator was Adrian Jacobs…a London businessman with the penchant for writing children’s stories. Willie was published in 1987. Thirteen years later, JK Rowling published Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire…a book Jacobs’ estate is claiming bears striking similarities to Willie the Wizard.
The Estate turned to an old family friend and Syndey icon Max Markson for help. Markson approaced barrister Peter Foley for advice and the green light switched on to take the deep-pocketed Harry Potter creator to Court. Foley had only one problem to start the ball rollong. He needed a solicitor to instruct him. Enter brother Kevin whose practice is in the NSW country town of Wagga Wagga.
Harry Potter proved to be a formidable foe for Willie ther Wizard…but let Max Markson tell the story….
“The English High Court has rules that J.K.Rowling has case to answer over plagiarism
London High Court Judge Sir David Kitchen threw out J.K.Rowling’s attempt to have the case for copyright theft against her summarily dismissed.
The Harry Potter author failed to halt the case against her claiming copyright infringement when writing her Harry Potter series.
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 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.
Trustee Paul Allen says “By this judgment The Estate are now vindicated and encouraged in bringing this action. We believe that the rights of ordinary authors should be upheld against copyright infringement by Entertainment juggernauts. Our real probability of success will be decided by the Trial Judge who will hear all the evidence tested and judge J.K.Rowling’s evidence on cross examination in the witness box. We are confident that we will eventually win.””
Adrian Jacobs, died penniless in a London hospice in 1997. Markson had been a family friend and known Jacobs for over ten for over ten years. Jacobs at his commercial peak was a well-known art collector who played top level rugby. He suffered a massive heart attack in 1987 which affected the control of his empire and he was bankrupted in 1991. His son Jonathan lives in the U.S. The estate was bought out of bankruptcy and ownership of the rights to “Willie the Wizard” passed to Jabobs’ son Jonathan.
Markson told J-Wire: “No date has been set for the case but I suppose it will be next year when Harry and Willy will fight their battle. In the meantime, I am unconcerned about anyone casting spells on me.”
In the meantime, as Willie and Harry’s representatives prepare for a high profile case in London, the lawyer in Wagga is preparing for the battle…but he will be fighting on two fronts. An action is also underway againt the U.S. publishers.