Potter encyclopedia 'is theft'

JK Rowling has told a New York court that plans to publish an unofficial Harry Potter encyclopedia amounted to "wholesale theft".

The author outlined her reasons for suing publisher RDR Books over its plans to publish The Harry Potter Lexicon, a 400-page reference book by a librarian who has become one of the world's foremost Potter scholars.

The book was created by Steve Vander Ark, who is not party to the copyright suit. He runs a fan website visited by 25 million Potter enthusiasts. JK Rowling said she felt she had been the victim of "an act of betrayal" by Mr Vander Ark over its use of her work. She said: "He has simply taken it and copied it ... It is sloppy, lazy and it takes my work wholesale."

RDR is arguing that its book is a scholarly work which makes fair use of Rowling's material. The author said she is not sure if she now has "the will or the heart" to write her own encyclopedia, the proceeds of which she had intended to donate to charity.