Feeds

Warner Brothers bullies girl over Harry Potter site

Huge conglomerate behaves disgracefully

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Warner Brothers has threatened a 15-year-old fan of Harry Potter with legal action over her Web site. Claire Field is understandably upset at the bullying tactics and not much impressed by the conglomerate's offer of £9.99 in compensation for handing over the domain www.harrypotterguide.co.uk.

This action really, really bothers us here at The Reg. Claire received a letter from WB's legal department, claiming her site is "likely to cause consumer confusion or dilution of intellectual property rights". It looks as though it came from the US, but of course we can't be sure because NO ONE at Warner Brothers will talk to us. One representative said she couldn't comment because her area was the film aspect of Harry Potter. The Internet aspect is run by someone else. And there's no point us talking to the legal department because we "wouldn't get through to anybody". The corporate arrogance is simply staggering. To be fair, she was a very nice woman but what the hell kind of company is this?

This isn't the start of its Harry Potter spree either. Back in February, it first announced its intention to run down Harry Potter "cybersquatters", starting with www.harrypotterisawizard.co.uk. We haven't been able to find an arbitration decision on it, but the site is in WB's hands. Presumably the heavy-handed threat of legal action was enough.

So what we have here is a vast, ugly corporation which makes most of its money from entertaining children, firing out legal letters and bullying those very kids without any thought given to the facts or the receiver. We can't be sure that it has even looked at her site - which, incidentally, carries a disclaimer and links to the official site on its front page.

AND we're talking about harrypotterguide.co.uk - not exactly the first URL you are going to type in. This really is sickeningly abusive behaviour and is an indication of the sorry state the Internet has got into - thanks in part to our old friend WIPO, the arbitrator-come-whore that always seems to find in favour of the rich and powerful.

Warner Brothers seem to be operating under the proviso that anything with the words "harry potter" in are its property. What the hell is wrong with a young fan having a fan site? Nothing, WB will say. Then what the hell are they supposed to call it? We all know that Warner Brothers couldn't give a monkey's about the people that keep it in business, but rarely has that fact been so apparent.

We reckon Warners will call this off once someone with a brain hears about it ("no, cancel it. Think of the cost in negative publicity"). If it goes through with it and takes the issue to an arbitrator - presumably, WIPO - we can't see how it can win.

There's no bad faith here, no profit being made - it's a fan's site that justifies its URL entirely. If WIPO does look at it and does decide against Claire, we will fly over to Geneva and personally slap director general Kamil Idris. ®

Related Link

Harry Potter guide

Related Stories

Warner threatens Harry Potter fan sites
Achtung! Harry Potter copyright breakensung

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.