April 16, 2008

Overprotective Mothering

I'm not sure if you've seen this or not, but it's made waves occasionally. No, I'm not talking about helicopter parenting, though I may talk about that at some point. I'm talking about JK Rowling taking what I believe to be an over-protective stance regarding the Harry Potter series of books.

The topic at issue here is the publishing of an unauthorized, fan-created encyclopedia of the universe in which her books take place. I can see why she might need to take formal action - if you're not familiar with the law regarding trademarks, you have to make an effort to protect them or risk losing them - but I have to admit I'm among the crowd who doesn't see what the big deal is. Unless they're trying to make the book out to be an official publication, or doing anything to deceive people into believing it is, how is this situation different than the fan-fiction that pervades the internet? If anything, the fan-fiction is a worse - though probably less attackable - use of her marks and copyrights.

Even though I'd never get a chance to do anything with it - nor would I necessarily wish to - this kind of over-protectiveness is why there is no standardized, licensed Harry Potter RPG, which is really kind of sad.