J.K. Rowling is apparently still facing legal woes. The Trustee of the Estate of late English author Adrian Jacobs announced he has now met the order of the English Court of Appeal, paying 50,000 sterling into court, enabling the appeal and ‘Adventures of Willy The Wizard’ copyright breach lawsuit against J.K. Rowling and her publishers Bloomsbury to go ahead.
The full trial is scheduled for February 2012.
In October 2010 the High Court rejected J.K. Rowling’s application to strike out the case against her. The High Court was concerned that despite requests, J.K. Rowling had refused to disclose her original manuscripts and notebooks, which she claimed showed the genesis of Harry Potter.
The Court held that until she disclosed her manuscripts, the Estate could not evaluate the strength of the case against her. Rather than disclosing documents, J.K. Rowling’s lawyers obtained a court order requiring the Estate to pay the author and her publishers over 1.4 million sterling as security.
In April The Trustee appealed, arguing that this vast sum would “stifle” the lawsuit. “Why has J.K. Rowling persistently refused to produce her first Harry Potter manuscripts and famous crammed notebooks?” asks Mr. Allen. “Her lawyers even claimed they no longer exist, and ignored a court deadline to exchange a list of documents. We have been asking J.K. Rowling for sight of these crucial documents for many years.” The case alleges that J.K. Rowling used Adrian Jacobs’ visionary 1987 work “The Adventures of Willy the Wizard” to develop her Harry Potter series, copying many new expressions of ideas from Jacobs’ work, including Wizard Chess, Wizard Trains & Hospitals, Wizard Gambling and Newspapers and copied Jacobs’ 1987 storyline concept “The year of wizard contests” when writing Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire published in 2000.
The dispute casts doubt on J.K. Rowling’s account of creating Harry Potter on a train. Her literary agent Chris Little claims the first draft chapters of Harry Potter came from J.K. Rowling in 1995 but the Estate maintains the manuscript was in his hands at least a year earlier in 1994.
The Estate claims that Little was also Jacobs literary agent.
In July 2011 The Trustee will also ask the Court of Appeal to order the return of costs spent by the Estate successfully contesting J.K Rowling’s failed attempt to strike out the case.
Paul Allen says: “We welcome the opportunity to prove our case at trial next February and exposing the inconsistencies in the account of how J.K Rowling came to write the Harry Potter books.”