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Potter author zaps court rival

J.K. Rowling
Rowling: Two years since allegations were first made

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LONDON, England -- Harry Potter author JK Rowling has won a court fight against a rival children's writer who had claimed parts of the boy wizard novels were plagiarised from her work.

Pennsylvania-based writer Nancy Stouffer was also fined and ordered to pay part of Rowling's legal costs after the U.S. court ruled she had lied to the court and doctored evidence in the case.

Stouffer had alleged that "Muggles" -- the name in the Potter books that wizards give to humans who have no magical abilities -- had originally been used to describe mythical characters in her own novels and had been stolen from her mid-80s book, The Legend of Rah and the Muggles.

She also said she had written a colouring book entitled Larry Potter and His Best Friend Lilly, the UK's Press Association news agency reported.

But a New York court threw out the allegations, which were first made against Rowling, her U.S. publisher Scholastic, and movie producer Warner Bros, in 1999.

"Publication, distribution and exploitation of the Harry Potter books does not violate any of Stouffer's intellectual property rights," said a summary judgement by the District Court of the Southern District of New York.

The court fined Stouffer $30,000 for her "pattern of intentional bad faith conduct" and ordered her to pay a portion of the defendants' costs.

"Ms. Rowling is thrilled to have been vindicated so clearly," her agent Christopher Little told PA.

Barbara Marcus, president of Scholastic Books, said: "We never had any doubt that Harry Potter and his world came from the rich and extraordinary imagination of JK Rowling."

Rowling was honoured for bringing magic to the children's literary world when she was presented with the Order of the British Empire by the Prince of Wales, Prince Charles, at a ceremony at London's Buckingham Palace in March last year.

Rowling, who had previously told CNN's Larry King that she never intended to become a children's writer, was given the title in recognition of her services to children's literature. (Full story)

The four-book series is one of the greatest publishing successes of recent years, dominating bestseller lists in more than 20 countries and making Rowling one of Britain's richest women.

A fifth book is being written but there is not yet a publication date.


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