Sometimes you can’t make ’em up, when it comes to real news stories. Oracle beginning an appeal against the previous ruling of its Java-Android copyright/patent infringement case is no great surprise. But no one was expecting Ann Droid and her unauthorised knock-off copy of Harry Potter… (are you still with me?).
Foss Patents takes up the story of Oracle and its filing with the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Here’s how the company’s opening brief begins…
“Ann Droid wants to publish a bestseller. So she sits down with an advance copy of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix–the fifth book–and proceeds to transcribe. She verbatim copies all the chapter titles–from Chapter 1 (“Dudley Demented”) to Chapter 38 (“The Second War Begins”). She copies verbatim the topic sentences of each paragraph, starting from the first (highly descriptive) one and continuing, in order, to the last, simple one (“Harry nodded.”). She then paraphrases the rest of each paragraph. She rushes the competing version to press before the original under the title: Ann Droid’s Harry Potter 5.0. The knockoff flies off the shelves. J.K. Rowling sues for copyright infringement. Ann’s defenses: “But I wrote most of the words from scratch. Besides, this was fair use, because I copied only the portions necessary to tap into the Harry Potter fan base.”
Obviously, the defenses would fail.”
Foss Patents notes that the “appeal focuses entirely on the copyright part of the case (no patents involved anymore)”, and Oracle is building its case in this regard.
We are all on tenterhooks to see how this one develops…
Incidentally, how many lawyers are listed on the brief for Oracle? Groklaw notes there are no less than twenty-eight (Jarndyce versus Jarndyce, anyone?)