The boy who knew too much: a child prodigy

This is the true story of scientific child prodigy, and former baby genius, Ainan Celeste Cawley, written by his father. It is the true story, too, of his gifted brothers and of all the Cawley family. I write also of child prodigy and genius in general: what it is, and how it is so often neglected in the modern world. As a society, we so often fail those we should most hope to see succeed: our gifted children and the gifted adults they become. Site Copyright: Valentine Cawley, 2006 +

Friday, October 12, 2007

"Hogwarts Castle" J K Rowling Sues

I marvel at the cheek of J K Rowling creator of the unremittingly imitative Harry Potter. J K Rowling is suing an Indian community group over their erection of a "Hogwarts Castle" - in reality a wooden structure bearing only a remote resemblance to the filmed object, as seen in the many Harry Potter films.

Her objection is that the Indian group, FD Block Puja Committee of Salt Lake, India, have breached her copyright over the Hogwarts School of Wizardry and Witchcraft, by building a structure and referring to it as "Hogwarts Castle".

The wooden structure, known as a pandal, is one of over 10,000 pandals constructed in the Kolkata area to mark the festival of the Goddess Durga and her slaying of a demon - thus representing the triumph of good over evil.

What struck me as quite curious was how different their presentation of Hogwarts is to be. Dominating the set will be a statue of the 10-armed goddess attacking a demon as it emerges from a buffalo. That doesn't seem too much like Harry Potter to me. However, there will also be life-sized images of Harry Potter and his companions.

The festival is the biggest in East India and communities there pride themselves on the pandals that they create. The organizers of this one chose the theme, thinking it would draw the crowds in. Santanu Biswas, secretary of the community group, said, "We had no clue we had to seek permission from the author."

Now, I can understand their point of view. They are from India, and such matters are probably not well known. So, the idea of the extent of copyright was not likely to be known to them. Yet, there is something about all of this that bothers me. Anyone reading any book by J K Rowling can only be struck by their derivative nature - she owes so much of her contents and "ideas" to other authors that there is very little, if anything, in the books that she can truly call her own. To exercise copyright so virulently over such a collection of derivations (to which there are internet sites devoted to all over the net), is really rather cheeky. J K Rowling cannot claim to be free of imitation. In fact, she would be hard pressed to claim origination without stretching the truth, rather.

I remember reading a much more erudite tale of a Wizard school when I was a boy - long before J K Rowling became a single mother and cafe haunting writer - The Earthsea Trilogy by Ursula K Le Guin. If you look around, you will see that everything J K Rowling says in her books, has a precedent elsewhere.

So, my feelings on the Indian situation are mixed. Yes, copyright should always be upheld. But no, not if the author in question owes so much to others - the question then becomes: whose copyright should be upheld? J K Rowling's...or the the legion of authors that she owes multiple huge debts to?

Incidentally, Warner Brothers and J K Rowling are suing for 2 million rupees - about $55,000 USD. That is a lot of money to the organizers. If they can't get agreement to go ahead - they will have to dismantle their work.

The unseen factor in all of this is that the Indians are, basically, engaged in a big Harry Potter promotion. Perhaps, in that light, J K Rowling should be paying them, not suing them.

(If you would like to learn more of Ainan Celeste Cawley, a scientific child prodigy, aged seven years and ten months, or his gifted brothers, Fintan, four years and three months, and Tiarnan, twenty months, please go to: I also write of gifted education, IQ, intelligence, the Irish, the Malays, College, University, Chemistry, Science, genetics, left-handedness, precocity, child prodigy, child genius, baby genius, adult genius, savant, gifted adults and gifted children in general. Thanks.)

Labels: , , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button
posted by Valentine Cawley @ 8:26 PM 


Post a Comment

<< Home

Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape