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WB cracking down on HP slash?

A friend sent me this link to a new article claiming that the WB is trying to shut down adult-oriented Harry Potter slash sites. Anyone know if there's anything to it? Scroll down in the link to the bold heading "Slash porn" for the relevant section of the article - the first part is all about legal challenges to actual knockoffs being sold in China in stores.

"A spokesman for AOL Time Warner, which owns the film rights to Harry Potter and which has been instrumental in cracking down on 'slash porn', said they were determined to maintain their character's image.

He added that it was their 'moral obligation' to act: 'This is especially true in the case of indecent infringement of any icon whose target audience is children.'"

I haven't heard anything about it and I'm fairly well-connected in the HP fandom, so I'm not sure which slash sites are supposedly being affected. IANAL, but it seems to me that it would be very hard, at this stage of the game, for JKR or the WB to try taking down *any* fanfiction on copyright grounds alone, given how long JKR has maintained a public stance in favor of fanfiction. As I understand it, copyright alone wouldn't give them the right to determine what *kinds* of fic are being posted, once they've ceded that fans have the right to create and post fic. And I thought there'd been enough discussion by UK-based fannish lawyers on the "moral rights" issue that HP fen felt fairly safe, but I could be wrong.

I also had thought that the WB was maintaining a positive orientation to HP fanfiction and was delibrately trying to ignore / work with in private the sites they view as problematic. (In 2003 for instance we had some c&ds against HP adult sites that were settled in private, with results including the sites password-locking and requiring age verification.) I sat in the audience at a panel on fan cultures last November where a WB rep said all the right things about how they view fan participation in HP as beneficial, rather than a threat.

If anyone knows of corroborating evidence to the article's claims, or has any info on what specific legal grounds the WB might be pushing, please share. Thanks!

ETA: Looks like it's a false alarm. I'd missed a few posts where the article's section on slash is debunked as being a scrape from an actual crackdown back in 2001. Journalistic integrity, what? More in the comments.


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 21st, 2007 08:18 pm (UTC)
Did you read the discussions of this on emmagrant01's and lolaraincoat's ljs? It seems that a lot of people think that the language is similar enough to the Chris Noxon articles of 2001 and 2003 that the "reporter" is really looking to those articles in getting these quotes.

The 2001 Noxon article said, word for word:
When studio executives learned about Harry Potter slash from this reporter late in August, they took four days to round up the troops from August sojourns in France and Aspen — then released a formal statement.

“It is not only our legal obligation, but also our moral obligation to protect the integrity of our intellectual properties,” the statement read. “This is especially true in the case of indecent infringement of any icon whose target audience is children.”

Well, they haven't in the last six years, so as a matter of law, due to things like the laches and implied license doctrines in the US, they'd have a damned hard time doing so now.
Aug. 21st, 2007 08:21 pm (UTC)
I don't read my friends list while I'm at work, so no, I haven't seen those posts. Thanks for the info. Let's hope that's indeed all there is to it, and that the reporter is simply trying to sensationalize their article on the China knockoffs with the OMGgayporn!
Aug. 21st, 2007 08:22 pm (UTC)
The folks at JF think that part of the article is out of date.

The top part of China rip offs is current in that there are crappy rip offs as reported by Boing Boing but no one is officially sure of what behind the scenes legal action the lawyers are doing, since the first stages are done outside of court rooms.

Hollywood in general blurts things out at random and then changes it's mind.
Aug. 21st, 2007 10:12 pm (UTC)
*ponder* Do reputable news sources really use phrases like "slash porn"?

Maybe I should start reading the newspapers again.
Aug. 21st, 2007 10:37 pm (UTC)
I think "reputable" may be a stretch, if they hire reporters who are willing to scrape quotes from 6-year-old articles and pass them off as new, which looks like what happened.
Aug. 21st, 2007 10:41 pm (UTC)
Slate has been recycling stories on line constantly it's a wonder any one takes them seriously.
Aug. 21st, 2007 10:49 pm (UTC)
*snicker* Yeah, I saw the update so I was mostly being facetious. But that was my first thought when I saw that quote. ;)
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
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