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Tuesday 27 June 2017

Rowling may face High Court trial

JK Rowling may have to defend a copyright claim in the High Court
JK Rowling may have to defend a copyright claim in the High Court

Harry Potter author JK Rowling may have to defend herself at the High Court against an allegation of copying her ideas from an earlier obscure children's book writer.

Mr Justice Kitchin ruled that the claim by the estate of the late Adrian Jacobs had a chance of success but this was "improbable".

He refused applications by Ms Rowling and her publishers, Bloomsbury, for an immediate judgment dismissing the case as having no chance of success. But he ordered that Paul Allen, the estate's trustee, pay money into court as security for the costs of the case if it goes to trial.

Mr Jacobs wrote what the judge described as a "16-page novella" entitled Willy The Wizard and Mr Allen claims Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire infringed the copyright.

Willy The Wizard was published in 1987. A year later Mr Jacobs was declared bankrupt and died in 1997.

Mr Allen claims that in 1987, Christopher Little, who became Ms Rowling's literary agent some eight years later, was given copies of Mr Jacobs's book and that he gave one to Ms Rowling before she wrote Goblet or any of the Harry Potter books.

Ms Rowling - whose Potter books have been turned into blockbuster films starring Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson - is claiming she did not meet Mr Little until 1995 by which time she had written Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone and the other books had been planned.

She says she did not see Willy the Wizard until 2004 when the first of the copyright infringement claims were made.

Ms Rowling has described the claim as "not only unfounded but absurd".

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