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Last Updated:  Thursday, 13 March, 2003, 10:05 GMT
Rowling seeks 'Grotter' ban
JK Rowling
Rowling is trying to stop the book's publication outside Russia
Harry Potter author JK Rowling has asked a Dutch court to block the sale of a Russian book she says copies her work.

Rowling has asked the court in Amsterdam to block the first Western printing of The Magic Double Bass by Dmitry Yemets, which her lawyers say steals from Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.

The case, against Dutch distributor Byblos, is due to be heard on 25 March.

The company is planning to release 7,000 copies of the book in April, which features a young girl called Tanya Grotter.

Like Rowling's creation she is an orphan with magical powers, has a strange mark on her face and must battle a terrible evil figure.


In February, lawyers representing Rowling and film giant Warners - who make the Harry Potter films - threatened to sue the Russian publishers of the book, Eksmo, unless they withdrew the novel.

Rowling's boy wizard creation has sold millions of copies around the world and spawned two hugely popular Hollywood films.

Lawyers are confident they will win the case.

Yemets' Tanya Grotter
Author Yemets says the book reflects Russian culture

"There are three grounds. Copyright infringement, trademark infringement and unfair competition. It copies storyline, plot and the characters," said lawyer Diederik Stols of law firm Allen & Overy, acting for Rowling and Warners.

But Yemets denies he has stolen ideas from JK Rowling.

He says his book is a parody of the Harry Potter phenomenon, a view echoed by the publisher Byblos.

"Tanya Grotter doesn't harm Harry Potter in any way, rather she is his burlesque sister," Byblos said in a statement.

"Yemets... writes his novels both as a parody to the English hero Harry Potter and as a cultural response to the world hype about the mega best-seller."

They said they would contest the case.

JK Rowling's creation has not had an easy time in Russia. Last year a Slavic cultural organisation tried to ban the books in Russia after claiming the references to magic and wizardry might draw youngsters into Satanism.

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