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Dutch court blocks Harry Potter-like book

November 07, 2003|From Associated Press

AMSTERDAM — An appeals court Thursday blocked the publication of the Dutch translation of a Russian children's book in the Netherlands, saying the story was stolen from the popular "Harry Potter" books.

The decision by the Amsterdam Court of Appeal reaffirms a lower court ruling that the stories by Russian author Dmitry Yemets about a magical girl named Tanja Grotter too closely resemble J.K. Rowling's best-selling character.

The judges rejected the argument from Byblos publishers in Amsterdam that the Russian work is a parody of the Potter series. It said the story violated copyright law and ordered Byblos to reimburse legal fees of $3,000 to the British author.

Byblos owner Boudewijn Richel said the Harry Potter stories had influenced the Russian stories but maintained that they are "independent literary works."

The decision will have implications for similar books in Europe that also resemble the Harry Potter series, including translations of the Grotter series planned in 22 countries.

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