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Judge blocks 'Harry Potter Lexicon'

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  • Web site operator wants to publish encyclopedia about Harry Potter novels
  • Judge awards "Harry Potter" author J.K. Rowling and publisher $6,750 in damages
  • Rowling says she has long planned to publish her own encyclopedia
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From Christina Chinnici
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NEW YORK (CNN) -- A federal judge on Monday ruled against a Web site operator who was seeking to publish an encyclopedia about the Harry Potter series of novels, blocking publication of "The Harry Potter Lexicon" after concluding that it would cause author J.K. Rowling "irreparable injury."

J.K. Rowling once praised the Web site, but later said the lexicon was just a rearrangement of her material.

Steven Vander Ark speaks to the media outside the U.S. District Court on April 15, 2008 in New York City.

U.S. District Judge Robert P. Patterson awarded Rowling and her publisher $6,750 in statutory damages and permanently blocked publication of the reference guide.

Harry Potter fan Steven Vander Ark sought to publish the book, a reference guide to the Harry Potter series, through a small Michigan-based publishing house called RDR Books. Vander Ark operates a Web site called "Harry Potter Lexicon."

Rowling sued RDR Books in 2007 to stop publication of material from Vander Ark's Web site.

Vander Ark and RDR Books claimed the book should not be blocked from publication because it was protected by the "fair use" doctrine, which allows for commentary and critique of literary works.

Patterson, in his ruling, said the defendants failed to demonstrate fair use.

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Rowling issued a statement after Monday's ruling, saying, "I took no pleasure at all in bringing legal action and am delighted that this issue has been resolved favorably."

Vander Ark did not immediately return calls from CNN on Monday. "We are obviously disappointed with the result, and RDR is considering all of its options, including an appeal," attorney David S. Hammer said.

Rowling, who said she has long planned to publish her own encyclopedia, and Warner Brothers Entertainment, producer of the Potter films, filed suit to stop RDR from publishing the book. Warner Brothers is owned by Time Warner, CNN's parent company.

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