I don't know about the specific legal stuff. I do remember that as she did her PR interviews for the last book she mentioned the possibility of doing a Harry Potter encyclopedia herself. Now this guy's going to publish one? Seems fishy. Although, his website is basically an entire HP encyclopedia on the web instead of in book form.
chris columbus, the director of the first harry potter movie, should be investigated for a little copyright infringement of his own.
case in point: Disney's Animated classic The Sword In The Stone.
the character of (nicknamed) wart? specifically the cover of the dvd shows him in a red outfit and a yellow scarf. well, if you look at the first harry potter movie essentially when he gets to hoggwarts and shortly after he is given his "sorting" by the sorting hat, the uniform that he is given bears a striking resemblance to the one (nicknamed) wart is wearing (sans the gryffendor insignia).
well, anyhow another thought: I will be following up this thought with a letter to the legal department at the disney company. just thought I would drop this thought into the pot and let you all look at it first.
With all the books analyzing Potter from different perspectives and speculating on the final book... all the Wizard Rockers making albums that sold at Borders... I think it's clear JKR welcomes her fans to create art inspired by her world.
But that's not the case with the Lexicon. It's a great resource, to the point where it got a website award from JKR some years back (something she now regrets). But once you put something like that in print, for profit, and don't add any sort of commentary... I think JKR is right to sue, whether or not she writes an encyclopedia herself. It's the equivalent of Wikipedia selling its Potter articles in book form.
In music, there's something called a "compulsory license" where someone can record and distribute a new interpretation of a song and just pay a royalty without engaging in time-consuming negotiations. The rates are set high, but not impossibly so, in order that there would be an incentive to come to terms, but not an absolute bar to performance if there were no meeting of minds. There is, however, no such construct for textual materials.
There is no question that JKR is the creator of HP's world, and all due credit is due to her. On the other hand, there is no indication that Vander Ark intends any disrespect -- he merely wishes to provide a cross-reference to the works.
The courtroom will settle the question of merits according to law, but elevating this dispute to litigation does nothing toward what is right. In a perfect world, JKR and VA could produce competing works -- JKR's with more from the original inspiration, and VA more from diligence.....or they could collaborate.....and the market could sort things out by worth.