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Orrex Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-26-08 05:26 PM
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So Warner Brothers is suing Bollywood
Apparently the powers-that-be at the WB think that Hari Puttar is too similar to their own beloved money-maker to allow Bollywood to escape unsued.

Let me disclaim at this time that I haven't read a word of any Harry Potter book and know nothing about Hari Puttar outside of what's in the linked article.

However, Munish Purii makes the IMO compelling argument that
Hari is a common name in India and "puttar" is Punabji for son.

The film is not a tale of wizard spells or flying broomsticks, but rather a story of an Indian boy left home alone, who fights off burglars when his parents go away on holiday - a plot more reminiscent of the film Home Alone, starring Macaulay Culkin.

So what is the WB's beef, exactly? Can no one henceforth use any name that sounds like a name that they've used? This is flatly preposterous on at least two fronts:

1. Groucho Marx famously waged a letter-writing campaign against Warner Brothers Studios because, he claimed, the WB had attempted to stop The Marx Brothers from titling their film A Night in Casablanca on the grounds that viewers might confuse it with the Bogart film. Of course, the whole thing was a farce, and the WB never made any such attempt, but Groucho's efforts were widely publicized and are certainly still remembered in the storied halls of the WB. In any case, the WB is surely aware of the problems with trying to claim exclusive rights to common words or names.

2. Rowling herself was involved in a legal tussle with NK Stouffer, whose books included such words as "muggle" and such characters as Larry Potter. Stouffer claimed that Rowling had stolen key ideas from her when drafting the Harry Potter stories. Stouffer's stories came out in the 80's, and by most accounts they weren't that great; nevertheless, her failed litigation showed the absurdity of claiming ownership of names when the corresponding characters aren't more than vaguely similar. As a result, Rowling et al are certainly aware of the problems of mounting a similar case of their own.

So what is the WB after, exactly? Who knows? Are they trying to take some of the sting out of their Watchmen troubles? Are they just being an over-reaching and hegemonic corporation? Very possibly.

What are your thoughts?

Incidentally, it doesn't sound like Rowling has much to do with the WB's suit against Bollywood, so I don't mean to imply that she's being petty or tyrannical. In fact, she's just about universally described as a very cool person, except by fundies, who accuse her of preaching satanism and trying to turn children gay. :eyes:
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