Grotter Potter parody banned

  November 6, 2003 at 10:51 AM ET
  Geri     Wizard News (via Ananova)

A Dutch appeals court has blocked the publicationopens in new window of the Dutch translation of a Russian children's book, saying the story was stolen from the popular Harry Potter books.

The decision by the Amsterdam Court of Appeal reaffirms an earlier ruling by a lower court that the stories by Russian author Dmitry Yemets about a magical girl named Tanja Grotter too closely resemble JK Rowling's best-selling character.

In their ruling, Dutch judges rejected the argument from Byblos publishers in Amsterdam that the Russian work is a parody on the Potter series.

"The conclusion is that Tanja Grotter is an unauthorised adaptation of Harry Potter," the ruling said.

The similarities between the two books, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and Tanja Grotter and the Magic Bass, are unmistakable.

Harry rides a broomstick, while Tanja flies a musical instrument. Both have unique facial markings, are 10 years old, and attend wizarding school where they become stars in a dangerous ball sport played in mid-air. Even the name of the supernatural villain in the Grotter books, Chuma-del-Tort, seems a little too close to the original Voldemort, whose names must never be spoken.

Byblos owner Boudewijn Richel who acknowledged that the Harry Potter story line had influenced the Russian stories, said he was surprised by the decision.

"The story isn't over yet," he said, promising to publish a different book in the Grotter series, which has sold million of copies in Russia.


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