Dear EA:It's not a crime to be rich; it's not a crime to be famous. But if you're both, you will be punished for it by the crazy public. Happily, millions of dollars can buy a lot of lawyers and rottweilers.
I have become distressed by the frivolous lawsuits brought against J.K. Rowling (as well as Stephanie Meyer) whose only crime appears to be enjoying unprecedented success.
When I read that the estate of Adrian Jacobs was suing J.K. Rowling and her publisher for 500 million pounds, I thought it was a joke. And yet blogs and forums abound with readers who have compared Harry Potter with Willie the Wizard and declared J.K. Rowling guilty of plagiarism. Fewer people are speaking in her defense.I think most reasonable people who heard that yet another person was suing Rowling for plagiarism simply rolled their eyes and reflected on the downsides of being a billionaire.
Willie the Wizard’s claim to a piece of the Harry Potter empire is ridiculous and an insult to any writer who has ever put in the countless hours of crafting a novel instead of grabbing their fifteen minutes of fame in a frivolous lawsuit.I haven't been following this situation at all, so I don't know who's taking it seriously (are they nutjobs?) or why (because they're nutjobs?). If you'd like to clarify in the comments, please do.
So what I would like to know is why are so many people taking this lawsuit seriously? Why aren’t more people speaking out against it? And how can we as writers protect ourselves against such lawsuits in the future?
One of the lessons of working retail or waiting tables or reading the slush or being a bestselling author or in any way coming in contact with a wide range of the public is this: there are CRAZY people out there. Freelance wackos. Earnestly delusional lunatics. Vicious looneys.
Sure, there are plenty of just mildly wacky yahoos, and sometimes they're even published authors. But you want to be careful about the public at large and how much of their attention you draw, because this kind of flagrant money-grubbing can be the result.
The good news is the vast majority of authors never draw this kind of attention, because the vast majority of authors never make millions of dollars.
The bad news is that you'll never know the pleasure of setting the dogs on the idiots rooting through your garbage.
Oh, good lord. Here's some of the text from Willy the Wizard. The idea that ANYONE would have plagiarized a work like this is CRIMINALLY INSANE.
Willy sat in Ali Baba’s chair and was frequenctized into vision acute, now receiving clarity waves from the Ruby Tower.
Kentucky set the scene for the polo feast. A green green carpet appeared like a field in the sky, and the audience was enthralled as the mini polo ponies careered back and forth with their Jockies at breakneck velocity around the entire carpet lawn. … Duke plied them with the local coconut juice which spiced and blended with Bay pineapple juice, caressed their lovely day.
In Willy’s laboratory, Wizard Cricket demonstrated how a mixture’ of grounded nicket paste and paleberry juice applied gently on the eyebrows of an Aussie guinea pig would bring a marked change of appearance. Willy suffered the mixture and clumsily knocked the contents of the texture into the berry juice paste and ! The guinea pig became a winking wongo - a wonderful little chap, a cousin to the Dutch Tree Squirrels.
It was specially intimate between them and had provoked some envy as its sweet success for silent discourse. Sitting in the cove, Willy sniffed deeply and drew into his mind Breathair Oxy-Zone. He had been taught the trick by Master Wizard Onlywheness who had been blessed by Guardian Saint Lovely Lucinda. Onlywheness had shown Willy how to breathe and on outward breath to sound silent messages. It was a question of nose muscle control and delicate lacquering of the air with thought pellets. Willy concentrated hard. He was rusty for he hadn’t drawn on this secret power for decades but his patience was prized…
Thanks to JES for the link.