US judge zaps Harry Potter plagiarism suit

A US federal judge today dismissed a lawsuit alleging the wildly-successfully Harry Potter books were plagiarised from a story from a little-known British author.

The suit filed in New York against the publisher of the JK Rowling books had argued the stories were inspired by Adrian Jacobs’s The Adventures of Willy the Wizard No.1 Livid Land, published in 1987.

Judge Shira Sheindlin wrote that there were major differences between the works, contrary to claims that Rowling had borrowed from Jacobs’ book for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

“Indeed, a reading of the works unequivocally confirms that they are distinctly different in both substance and style, and ultimately engender very different visceral responses from their readers,” the judge said in a 49-page ruling.

“The contrast between the total concept and feel of the works is so stark that any serious comparison of the two strains credulity.”

Scholastic, the US publisher for the Potter series, said it was satisfied by the dismissal of the suit from the estate of Jacobs.

“The court’s 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,” company spokesman Kyle Good said.

“Judge Scheindlin clearly agreed … Scholastic will continue to vigorously defend any such frivolous claims challenging the originality of Harry Potter and the brilliant imagination of its author, JK Rowling.”

Jacobs died in a London hospice in 1997.

Rowling has earned hundreds of millions of dollars from the Harry Potter books and films.

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