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Harry Potter's wand stronger than Grotter's


British "Harry Potter" author J.K. Rowling won a court battle on Thursday to block the Dutch publication of a Russian novel about a girl wizard called "Tanya Grotter" after arguing it copied one of her bestsellers.

Rowling got an injunction from an Amsterdam court to stop publication of the first Western edition of The Magic Double Bass by Dmitry Yemets, which her lawyer said copied Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone .

Yemets - who has sold more than 500,000 books in Russia, spawning radio plays and comic books - said his book was a parody of the Potter novels and that he trusted his readers to be able to tell the difference between Potter and Grotter.

The Harry Potter books about an English boy wizard have stormed bestseller lists worldwide and film versions have grossed more than $1.7 billion.

Rowling and media giant Time Warner - responsible for turning her books into hit movies - secured an injunction from Amsterdam District Court to block publication of 7,000 copies of a Dutch translation of Yemets's book by Dutch publisher Byblos.

The court said in a written ruling that the Russian book was an unauthorised adaptation of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone and that its publication in the Netherlands would infringe Rowling's copyright.

"The court orders Byblos to cease and desist from any infringement of Rowling's copyright", including publication of The Magic Double Bass , the court said.

Tanya Grotter and Harry Potter have much in common. Both are orphans, have strange marks on their faces, wield magical powers and battle an enemy too terrible to be named.

Grotter and Potter both lose their parents in a battle with a wizard turned bad, who they go on to confront: Potter fights Voldemort, Grotter takes on Chuma-Del-Tort.

And both go to a school for wizards: Potter to Hogwarts, Grotter to Tibidokhs.

Despite the court ruling, Grotter's creator was upbeat.

"Tanya Grotter won a moral victory, because the publishers of Harry Potter showed that they were scared of competition," Yemets told Reuters in Moscow. "Now everyone will say that Harry Potter had to run away from a little girl."

Byblos said it planned to fight the decision by taking the matter further in the Dutch courts in a bid to publish the Russian book in the Netherlands.

By Paul Gallagher (Additional reporting by Oliver Bullough in Moscow) copyright Reuters

 


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