Harry Potter and the Chamber of Lawyers

Author:Mr Nick Cunningham
Profession:Wragge & Co LLP
 
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The "Harry Potter" adventure series is a worldwide best-seller, with sales over 200 million worldwide. The fifth volume, "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix", is due to be published in the UK on 21 June, and has already achieved pre-publication sales of over 250,000. The publishers, Bloomsbury, made special arrangements for secure printing, but two unbound copies mysteriously turned up in a nearby field and were handed to the Sun newspaper. Then on 7 May an anonymous caller contacted the Sun and offered to hand over several chapters. The police followed this through and arrested and charged four people. Bloomsbury immediately applied for an injunction against News Group Newspapers, publishers of the Sun, against disclosure, and an order for delivery up of the copies it had received; News Group offered appropriate undertakings which were accepted instead.Unusually, Bloomsbury also asked the court for a "John Doe" injunction - an order restraining people who are known to exist but whose identities are as yet unknown. In the UK such orders have been refused in the past, as being beyond the Court's statutory powers. However in a radical judgment the Vice Chancellor, Sir Andrew Morritt, has gone beyond those cases, using fundamental changes in the court rules introduced by Lord Woolf's reforms in 2000 to develop this new remedy for rights holders.On 23 May the Vice Chancellor ordered an injunction against "the person or persons who have offered the publishers of the Sun, the Daily Mail and the Daily Mirror newspapers a copy of the book "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" by JK Rowling or any part thereof and the person or persons who has or...

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