Fake Harry Potter books restrained by Delhi High Court


In Rowling v City Publication (CS (OS) 1785/2007, October 1 2007), the High Court of Delhi has granted an interim injunction restraining City Publication, a Bangalore-based publishing firm, as well as its agents, distributors and retailers from reproducing, adapting, printing, distributing and selling works of the Harry Potter series infringing the copyright in the covers of the UK and US editions and trademark registrations of Warner Bros Entertainment Inc.

City Publication used the cover art, title and characters of the book Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, but portrayed a different plot, thereby ignoring the IP rights of JK Rowling (the author of the Harry Potter series), Bloomsbury Publishing (the publisher of the book) and Warner Bros (the producer of the Harry Potter films).

The court established that:

  • Bloomsbury Publishing had copyright in respect of the covers and literary content of the book; and

  • Warner Bros had trademark rights in the name of the characters.

The court examined the infringing material and concluded that:

  • the front cover had been plagiarized;

  • the back cover was an unauthorized reproduction of the US edition of the book; and

  • City Publication had unlawfully used the names of the main characters of the book and adapted the literary content.

The order of the court took into account the fact that the infringement of the plaintiffs' copyright and trademarks also violated the moral rights of the author. This case represents another example of how the Delhi High Court will penalize pirates which try to circumvent IP laws and counterfeit the Harry Potter books.

Rohan Bagai, Anand And Anand Advocates, New Delhi

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