A while back I blogged about a lawsuit J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter books, had brought against the publishers of a Potter encyclopedia. Yesterday NPR reported that Rowling won the case against the publisher of The Harry Potter Lexicon.
I found this story on NPR particularly interesting:
Harry Potter Encyclopedia Barred from Publication
An expert on the show discusses what qualifies as fair use and takes some questions from listeners. Apparently the judge in the case was careful to specify that this book qualifies as copyright infringement because of material it takes verbatim from J.K. Rowling's books. In other words, the ruling does not ban reference guides and literary commentary as a whole — it simply draws the line on how much your guide can depend on the intellectual property of the original author.