After being sued by J.K. Rowling, a publisher has agreed to delay its plans to release an encyclopedic reference work on the fictitious world of the Harry Potter novels.
RDR Books Publisher Roger Rapoport said he volunteered to halt typesetting on the planned “Harry Potter Lexicon” until a judge rules on whether the work constitutes a violation of Rowling’s intellectual property rights, or the copyright on her novels held by Warner Bros.
The book, drawn on material from the fan-created Harry Potter Lexicon Web site, had been scheduled for release on Nov. 28.
A federal judge in New York gave force to the agreement by issuing an order Thursday barring completion, distribution, marketing or advance sales of the book until further notice.
Rapoport, whose small company is based in Muskegon, Mich., said he had also turned over a copy of the Lexicon to Warner Bros. lawyers, in the hopes that they would read it and decide that it didn’t amount to copyright infringement.
“I think they should drop it. I’m hopeful that they will,” he said.
The lawsuit, filed Oct. 31, sought an injunction blocking publication of the book because it was likely to borrow too heavily from Rowling’s work and interfere with her plans to eventually publish her own version of an encyclopedia on the wizarding world.
The suit was somewhat of a surprise because Rowling had been a supporter of the Lexicon Web site, which would contain much of the same material. But she and Warner Bros. said they saw a difference between fans publishing such information for free on the Web, and putting it into a book for commercial sale.
In a statement released on her Web site, Rowling said she took “no pleasure” in the prevention of the Lexicon’s publication.
“On the contrary, I feel massively disappointed that this matter had to come to court at all,” the statement said. “Given my past good relations with the Lexicon fan site, I can only feel sad and disillusioned that this is where we have ended up.”
The seventh and final installment in Rowling’s hugely successful series, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” was published in July. The seven books have sold nearly 400 million copies and have been translated into 64 languages.