16 January 2008

When will she learn?

J.K.Rowling is, once again, setting her lawyers on her biggest fans, this time a lexicon of the Harry Potter universe that wants to publish a print version of their website. As Tim Wu smoothly points out, there are many reasons why Rowling deserves to fail in her attempt (via Techdirt).

One day, Rowling -- and others who seem to turn to the lawyers at the drop of a hat -- will learn that they're only harming themselves and their IP. It's free promotion, for goodness sake!

Part of the problem, I think, is the litigious nature of Western society. Lawyers are ubiquitous, and the lawsuit is the primary tool in their toolbox. "When your only tool is a hammer, everything looks like a nail." Unfortunately for IP holders, not every so-called "infringing" item is a nail (i.e., something to be sued out of existence). The sooner they realise this -- and embrace the possibilities -- the better off society will be.

Reminds me of the old joke: What do you call 500 lawyers at the bottom of the ocean? A good start.

NB: I should point out not all lawyers are bad (especially the one that's my sister-in-law). Just the ones who look for opportunities to sue as the be-all and end-all of the lives.

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