Hmm. Copyright infringement and plagiarism seems to be coming out of my ears these days. Here the plagiarism, if found, would be for the general plot line. Harry Potter fought in the Triwizard Tournament and rode the Hogwarts Express (a train); the claimant’s wizard was a hostage and rode a train. The claimant’s book is The Adventures of Willy the Wizard No. 1, Livid Land.
The grounds for copyright infringement in the US are: (1) a valid copyright, which the estate of Adrian Jacobs may indeed have; and (2) a SUBSTANTIALLY similar work, which is where I think the estate falls flat. Lots of characters are held hostage and ride on trains. Not so many characters are wizards, but surely a wizard riding on a train and getting into a hostage situation … plagiarism?? Harry does many, many things besides ride on the train and get into a hostage situation.
The Hogwarts Express entered the Harry Potter lexicon with the first book. So did Voldemort … and Voldemort took a hostage in the second book (a witch named Ginny Weasley). The fourth book, which all the hoopla is about, was published in July, 2000. I will point out that it’s now 2009; the book has been around for awhile. Why the wait to sue, Plaintiff?
Seems to me that this is one of the more stupid lawsuits. Best wishes to Rowling defending this one; it shouldn’t be too tough to do.