JK Rowling and her publisher are being sued for £500million for allegedly
copying Harry Potter from an earlier children's book, also by an English
Adrian Jacobs's book Willy The Wizard - also about a child discovering he
has magical powers - was published in 1987, ten years before the first in the
Harry Potter series and three years before Miss
Rowling says she came up with her idea.He allegedly sent the manuscript to
Christopher Little, the literary agent at Bloomsbury Publishing who went on to
represent Miss Rowling, but it was rejected.
Instead his book was published by a smaller company under the title The
Adventures Of Willy The Wizard No 1: Livid Land.
Mr Jacobs, who lost all his money in a stock market crash in 1991, died in
1997, so did not live to see the Harry Potter books' success.But his estate -
which includes his son and grandson - now claims Miss Rowling's fourth book,
Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire, was plagiarised.
In both books, the boy wizard competes in a magic contest. The lawsuit also
notes both have the boys trying to rescue human hostages held by half-human
creatures from a bathroom.
Shared references to a wizard train and a wizard prison are also part of the
Legal proceedings have been issued at the High Court against Bloomsbury, and
the Jacobs estate also says it will file a lawsuit against Miss Rowling. The
estate is also seeking an injunction to prevent further sales of Harry Potter
And The Goblet Of Fire, and damages or a share in the book's profits. JK
Rowling is estimated to have a personal fortune of £560million.
A statement from Bloomsbury claimed the allegations of plagiarism were
'unfounded,unsubstantiated and untrue'.'JK Rowling had never heard of Adrian
Jacobs nor seen, read or heard of his book Willy the Wizard until this claim
was first made in 2004 - almost seven yearsafter the publication of the first
book in the highly publicised Harry Potter series - Harry Potter and the
Philosopher's Stone and after the publication of the first five books in the
Harry Potter series', thestatement said.It continued: 'Willy the Wizard is a
very insubstantial booklet running to 36 pages which had very
limiteddistribution. The central character of Willy the Wizard is not a
young wizard and the book does not revolve around a wizard school.
'This claim was first made in 2004 by solicitors in London acting on behalf
of Adrian Jacobs' son who was the representative of his father's estate band
who lives in the United States. 'The claim was unable to identify any text in
the Harry Potter books which was said to copy Willy the Wizard. This
claim is without merit and will be defended vigorously'.