Harry Potter plagiarism case dismissed in UK

Mon Jul 18, 2011 11:01am EDT
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LONDON (Reuters) - A lawsuit which accused J.K. Rowling of copying the work of another children's author when writing "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" has been dropped in Britain after the claimant failed to come up with the cash ordered by a judge as security.

The estate of late author Adrian Jacobs said that the plot for the Potter novel, the fourth of seven boy wizard stories that have sold more than 400 millions copies, borrowed parts of his book "Willy the Wizard."

"The case is dead for now," Max Markson, spokesman for the estate, said on Monday. "Can it be revived? Yes, it could be taken up in another country, another jurisdiction," he added.

Markson told a newspaper in 2010 that the lawsuit could be worth hundreds of millions of dollars, given the huge commercial success of the Potter books and spin-offs including a record-breaking movie franchise.

The lawsuit had already been dismissed in the United States, and a judge at London's High Court said last year that the assertions of the claimant were "improbable."

But he turned down an application by lawyers for Rowling and her publisher Bloomsbury to dismiss the case outright.

Jacobs' estate was, however, required to pay a total of 1.6 million pounds ($2.6 million) to the court as a security against costs of the case should it eventually go to trial.

The estate failed to meet Friday's deadline to produce the first tranche of the money, said by sources involved in the case to be 850,000 pounds.

Bloomsbury and Rowling have consistently denied that she copied "substantial parts" of "The Adventures of Willy the Wizard -- No 1 Livid Land," written by Jacobs in 1987.   Continued...

<p>British author J.K. Rowling signs autographs outside Odense Concert Hall in Odense October 19, 2010. REUTERS/Jens Norgaard Larsen/SCANPIX</p>